by .

Gooners, go to the fancy cupboard, pull out a bottle of the expensive stuff, and find the nice glasses. We’re celebrating the biggest win of the last decade… neigh, the biggest win of the CENTURY.

William Saliba took his DECISION to French national TV and he… is STAYING.

Oh my god, I honestly don’t know what I’d have done if had decided to quit, regardless, we can ALL rest a little easier knowing that the Twitter this summer is going to be a little easier.

So what did the BIG man say?

‘I belong to Arsenal, I still have two years left’

‘I will be back with Arsenal. I have played zero matches and I still want to show them my true face and have the chance to play for these fans and this great club.

Honestly, I read lines like that and it makes me very happy, because this is basically what I’ve been saying about him all season. To make a career in football is a 180 in 1.5m chance, to make it in the Premier League, the chances are so slim, it’s almost not worth figuring out the stat because it’d have too many zeroes on it (I think it’s 0.02%). The idea that he was not going to want to get back to England and prove himself because he was offended by a loan was so, so far wide of the mark.

So what did the player say of his loan?

‘If I were to describe my season in a word? Surprising, or magical,’

‘It was my first full season. I was committed to showing people who I really am.’

‘The assessment is positive and I’m happy with my season. When you look at Marseille from the outside, you say: it’s good, but it’s make or break. So I told myself: “you’re going to this club and you can’t joke around, you can’t mess around, you have to play to the maximum every match”.

‘It’s as if I’ve been at Marseille for at least two or three years. It’s really special, even if I don’t return to Marseille, I’ll never forget it.

‘Thanks to Marseille, I reached the next level in my career; they lifted me.’

So for all the people that said ‘this loan move is offensive’ or ‘Arteta has really fucked up here’ well, there you have it. The player grew up, he knuckled down, he focused on his craft and he absolutely blew it out the park. I’m not sure there are many loans in history that have gone so well, they’ve ended up with a call-up to the World Champions.

The infantilization of Saliba that went on all season was so ridiculous and I am so happy that the player is showing that he’s not a baby. This boy came back a man and now he’s ready. His coach at Marseille, Jorge Sampaoli, had this to say on his development.

‘William’s progress is linked to his development this season and the maturity he now has and his playing time.

‘He is now consistent, he’s grown up as a player. In relation to his situation at the club, I hope that there is a possibility for us to retain a player like him, who knows the team.

Again, those comments are from an incredibly experienced coach, and he’s telling you why the player went out on loan. William Saliba made his mistakes on Marseille’s watch this season, he ironed out the immaturity in his game, and he learned how to go to war with a warrior coach. He made 52 appearances, clocking in 4500 minutes, which makes him the most experienced 21-year-old centre back in Europe. There were also concerns at Arsenal that he was fully developed physiologically, which would have made him susceptible to injuries, well, whatever they’ve tweaked behind the scenes, it seems to have worked, because that is an incredibly robust season. The Premier League is a different monster, but the foundations are clearly very strong.

Now the loan has worked, there are obviously going to be questions about whether Saliba could have stayed with Arsenal last season. Maybe he could have, but the bigger ask is this: Would he have landed more minutes than he did at Marseille? No way. Absolutely no chance. At best, he’d have made appearances at the backend of the season like Rob Holding and racked up 1000 minutes. There are no guarantees he’d have been in the right frame of mind to take on those minutes and the Premier League is much harder and faster, so the ride might have been bumpy.

The difference now is Saliba will be coming back with respect on his name, he’ll have an air about him, he’s in the French National squad, his reputation will be known in the dressing room. He is legitimately fighting for a first-team place next season, which is exactly what our defence needs.

What I’m most excited about is the interchangeable pieces we now have. William Saliba can do everything Ben White and Gabriel can do and he can also slip into right back. We have cover if Tomi get injured, we have a really powerful 3 at the back option with 3 outlets that can break the lines, and we also have rotation options now that don’t decimate how the team plays.

It’s all very exciting.

So in short, most of the hysterics around the loan move have been laid to rest.

  • The player landed the most minutes of any 21 yr old centre back in Europe
  • He played at a very high level and made a European semi final
  • He’s on the record saying he’s brimming with confidence and he had a magical time
  • He wants to prove himself with Arsenal this season

Say it quietly: The loan move was good.

… but my word, have a lot of people staked their football reputations on him. Let’s hope he lives up to the hype.

Also, I hope that this approach to developing players can now be seen as more acceptable. Not every young player is ready, loan moves give minutes and confidence, if the contracts are sorted, they can be very valuable. Balogun, BNC, Hutchinson, and Patino might all be eyeing a development move themselves this summer… William Saliba is now the case study in getting it right.

Right, that’s me done. I’m going to have king of the Saliba Ultras on a podcast later to talk about this stunning moment in their ever so short by stressed history.

Before we go… if you want to watch a video of me and Matt Kandela talking about the 1997-98 transfer window, subscribe to that damn Patreon and get amongst it. Someone reminded me that we were linked to Nano and Ibrahim Ba that window. I remember being explosively excited about those rumours. What a time to be alive. My favourite thing about that time is that every transfer was about hope… versus this miserable world we live in now when every transfer target seems to have 15 people queuing up to tell you why it’s shit.

This podcast is pure transfer joy and it has some really cool data in there that gives context to how hard we moved to get back to the top. ENJOY. If you aren’t subscribed, know that there are tiers to what you can pay, we know life is expensive at the moment, so whatever you can spare. xxx

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  1. The Real Vieira Lynn

    40m & 190k per is still too steep of a price to pay for Jesus…if this is the case, this will definitely hurt our chances in getting another Striker of consequence, with some GD height, during this window

  2. Killroy-TM

    We will always have to overpay to attract top talent because we don’t have CL football. It was that important to get 4th this season for attracting these type of players, but the generational one and the Director of Fantasy bottled it.

  3. Killroy-TM

    According to The Telegraph, Conte is wanting to sign a new center back, right wing-back, two midfielders, a forward and a back-up goalkeeper.

    Looks like they are in the same market for at least 3 players that we also are looking for, plus some back up players. Interesting to see who comes out on top of this Conte or the Pep lookalike postal boy.

    We can now also add an additional trophy to the youngest squad one, the avoiding relegation trophy!

  4. Mr Serge

    Kilroy spurs will not a buy a top forward unless that player is moving Kane or son, they will buy a back up they need a holder not a progressive cm as they just bought bentacour,
    We want a number one striker a number 8 cm and a left full back
    So no we are not up against them for any player imo

  5. Nigel Tufnel


    Was it Newcastle and Brentford he turned down? I had forgotten the actual English teams.

    I would have preferred him getting his playing time at either of those clubs over any French outfit. Much better experience against the rougher competition in the league.

    I don’t care what Pedro says now, but he would’ve been right to criticize Saliba for insisting on France. Playing great in England gets you in the French national team too.

    He’s probably ready anyway, but I would have pushed him for an English loan too if I were Edu.

    There was so much cretinous noise from the haters here all season about Saliba, that I was ready to see him gtfo of Arsenal.

    Now I look forward to seeing him play for us. His recovery pace the other day looked blistering.

    Now we’ve retained 2 players, we should start adding 2 or 3.

  6. Nigel Tufnel

    I just saw Pedro’s response. I agree Brighton would have been an amazing place for him to get his playing time.

    Anyone here really suggesting the level of competition in France is anywhere near England?

    So where is Pedro wrong?

  7. China1

    Vieira there’s no way we’re buying two CFs this summer

    If we are Eddie has to go out on loan which I think defeats the point of giving him 100k.

  8. Nigel Tufnel


    Good neutral comment on Saliba. Why does everyone have to have agenda here? Snipe at the blog writer constantly?

    I was sick of hearing about Saliba in mid-season, but I’m glad for the player and more for the club that it’s worked out for now.

    Kilroy and his only friend – who shall “not be underestimated”, will still be spinning it negatively.

  9. UTarse

    Yes apparently in the world of Some Arsenal fans, it’s better to play a season at Brighton rather than Marseille, whereas in the real world I would imagine most professional footballers would opt for a team playing in Europe and finishing 2nd in Ligue un. No matter which way you try and paint it, Saliba made the right choice.

    Why do certain fans have such an inflated opinion of the premiership ?

  10. Nigel Tufnel

    And as I continued scrolling, of course the doomsayers come out in force. Not even fairly good news on the day can make les miserables have some joy in our football club.

    I feel sorry for them.

  11. The Real Vieira Lynn


    3 points in that regards

    (1) the fact that we started with 3 potential options up top last season, in Auba, nevergoals Laca and the purple patch kid, it didn’t seem out of the question to expect two CFs coming into the fold, especially with Jesus’s flexibility from a positional standpoint and our Thursday evening European misadventures on tap

    (2) if it’s to be believed that we were genuinely pursuing Vlahovic, it’s hard to imagine how Eddie and/or Jesus would meet the same tactical objectives, thereby one could logically conclude that another Striker, with considerable more height, might be in the cards…otherwise, it would seem like MA’s plans aren’t nearly as definitive as we’ve been led to believe

    (3) finally, it appears as if we’ve been kicking tires with at least a few teams who currently employ Strikers that fit the above-mentioned height profile, even though we seem rather close to getting Jesus over the line, which suggests that either this is another classic Arsenal fan appeasement ruse or the very real possibility that 2 CFs are on our shopping list

  12. China1

    Vieira you’re right that it does seem we’ve been kicking tires with bigger strikers unlike Jesus

    But then the question is this, we spend £85m or so on Jesus and scamacca. How many games per season are we expecting each of our 3 CFs to start? If they’re rotating that heavily none of them will get a proper flow and stable game time. Start today, dropped tomorrow all season. That’s also a lot of money to spend in one area considering we still need to fix the midfield, LB etc.

    As for why we’ve been chasing big strikers and Jesus, I wonder the same thing. Feels a bit messy with us chasing Jesus who is a similar profile to what we already have AND a completely different profile on top. I don’t see a strong theme tactically running through all of this as it seems quite scattergun

    If we are buying Jesus to be a flexible rotation option who can play off the wing etc I’m not sure he’d really want that. He’s spent the last few years getting shunted around because he wasn’t good enough to demand a long term starting role as CF at city. Now he’d be coming to a weaker team and still shunted around to accommodate other players? Considering the transfer fee (were overpaying) and the salary (also overpaying) he’s surely coming in to be the main CF. And if he is that means Eddie is already getting demoted despite just signing a new contract. Another CF and I think we have ourselves an unnecessary mess.

    That’s why I’d rather we went for a different profile from Eddie in the first place. But if we really do sign Jesus I think it’s a waste of money getting another CF on top. For the same money it would cost us to buy Jesus as a winger we could get a better winger

  13. China1

    If we do sign 2 CFs in the same summer as we signed up Eddie, safe to say CF is the new CB and we’re planning to just overload on players

  14. The Real Vieira Lynn


    I definitely get what you’re saying in regards to both Eddie and Jesus…as for the former, I’m certainly not convinced that he can ever be the kind of starting CF option who can take a club with supposed higher aspirations to the “promised” land, which is why I would have never re-upped him, especially if Jesus was one of our primary targets…not to mention, if Eddie’s main sticking point, renegotiation-wise, involved the securing of assurances about playing time, then why would he sign unless those very assurances were in the offing…after all, we all know MA’s propensity to offer up assurances in order to get deals over the line…I guess the only other possible explanations are that he didn’t have quite as many suitors as some have suggested, which would mean that we vastly overpaid, or that the inflated wages were just enough that Eddie tempered his playing time demands…regardless, I just would have cut the cord and started anew

    as for Jesus, I would have no problem with him pursuing a course of action that would best remedy some of his City-based concerns, but I would suspect that he could achieve that goal without being the primary Striker…I think he cares infinitely more about being on the pitch, in any capacity, than continuing with the hodge-podge existence he endured under Pep…if this were the case, we could have allowed Eddie to seek greener pastures, bought Jesus in, with his versatility in mind, then acquired ourselves a far more prototypical front man…unfortunately that ship might have sailed whenever Eddie puts pen to paper, if he hasn’t already

  15. Old & Wise

    It would have been most preferable to have the Saliba prodigal return with news of him having signed a 2-year extension with a further AFC year’s option. All would have been acceptable to all parties. Saliba gets to experience the PL and prove to himself and any detractors, he has the potential to have a very credible career with the ability to back this up. AFC will be able to ask and receive a realistic fee from Rail Madrid, Barca, Man City et al. when history repeats itself again from the latter Wenger days to the Arteta regime.

    This would, of course, meant elevating his salary with bonuses and signing-on fee now, which would put a considerable dent in the under £100m TW kitty being mentioned by the money garnering, mostly fictional stories from the Internet and papers – the amount how true I have no idea, but I get the sense that there won’t be double that amount, though sorely needed, so perhaps somewhere in-between with further accrued player sales included?

    Youri Tielemans was in good from his initial move to LCFC, but last season he was poor and for me, looked unhappy. He would initially improve us and possibly add more Xhaka screamers from time to time, and be better in midfield than Xhaka was, but I feel he’s a ‘Top 6 to 4′ player and would not improve us enough to be title challengers.

    Jesus has become mercenary with his agent after being told he’s not good enough for an elite club: City.

    Considering the time he has been at City it’s likely he would be surplus to our requirements in a couple of years, especially if Bolagun or another Hale Ender steps up as Eddie is now. If we pay what Jesus what he demands, we will probably have to pay him to go if he flatters to deceive, which is the way Arteta is seemingly happy to lose £100s of millions in player/asset values for the club. What is worse the owners allow this because they leverage TW spends against the club’s assets. If Chelsea sold for £4+billion what would AFC sell for today? Close I would imagine, so the leveraging is a safer bet for Stanley.

    Not having Champion’s League has hurt us. To capitulate in the manner we did was exactly the reverse Arteta optics we could have hoped for. Quality players now and for the future have good agents who want the best for thier clients and their financial futures. Youri and Jesus are going nowhere with their respective clubs for differing reasons, but Arteta hasn’t notably brought on players in his 30+ month tenure. Saka would have happened without Arteta and will likely be overplayed next season as he was this season even though his formed dropped off.

    My main concern for this window is we have to buy at a certain bargain level – players that need to leave their clubs for varying reasons – because the players with the real quality that we should be after: the names of which have been mentioned often before, have been put off by their consigliere’s (agents) and teams of advisors to playing for Arteta and the level of players actually being signed. They want better and who could blame them.

    If true to form, we’ll still be looking in the close-to-sell-by-date aisles in the remaining 24 hours of the TW. Either that or playing chicken and blinking first as the TW clock runs down as we did with Partey.

    When all said and done top 4 is the target when the league starts. I imagine it will be Spurs’, United’s, West Ham’s and maybe a couple of unexpected clubs to overachieve with us all vying for a seat with the elite table to play Champion’s League football.

    Will Arteta come of age or will not be another season of excuses and tacky and disingenuous PR from the club saying next year is the year?

  16. Bigper

    We don’t know if the saliba loan has worked out yet, if he has another good season then he will have his pick of teams next summer with just a year left on his contract, in which case the loan and treatment will have been a mistake.
    Hopefully he signs a new deal

  17. China1

    I just feel if we have signed Jesus to be anything other then the main striker it will be an even clearer example of overpaying

    We could get a specialist winger in for the same money or less and a lower salary who would probably do a better job there. We shouldn’t be paying a lot of money to shoehorn players into their secondary roles

    I’d rather we went for a big profile CF this time and if we still wanna do things to the attack get in a real winger – especially as Pepe is presumably leaving.

    But if we’re getting Jesus in he surely has to be the main CF so getting another CF seems like a big waste of money

  18. China1

    Like for me Jesus is a good, not yet amazing striker and a decent winger.

    Buying him proves our squad, no doubt about it. But does he take us to the next level? Not sure of that so far. Can he score 20 league goals next season? I’d love him to but I doubt it. If he plays on the wing will he outperform or even match saka? I doubt it.

    Jesus is good and as negative as I seem I do welcome him as a squad addition – but is this a clever use of limited resources? I’m not seeing it at all

  19. China1

    Which btw is the same thing I said of the Ben white signing give or take and one year on I can’t say his signing has been groundbreaking *so far*

  20. Habesha Gooner

    To be honest there isn’t anyone else that is better than Jesus in the market when it comes to Center forwards. After Vlahovic, Kane, Haaland and Mbappe, there aren’t a lot of top class players
    Osihmen is good but he isn’t a guarantee either. And he would cost 80 mil+.

    Tammy Abraham, Darwin Nunez, Johnathan David, Patrìck Schick, Gianluca Scamacca, Aminie Gouiri, Dominic Calvert Lewin, Richarlison: these are the players that are available after Jesus. A lot of them would cost at least 40 mil in transfer fees.
    There is a shortage of top strikers in Europe. Out of that list, Nunez and Gouiri stand out for me but they aren’t sure things either. And they aren’t better or more Premier league ready than Jesus. Even if he doesn’t score 20+ goals in all competitions (which I think is improbable), he will give us more than a lot of forwards. He is a pressing machine. And he is very technical in tight spaces. He will improve the rest of our attackers. Imagine a faster, stronger, more technically efficient Lacazette with a nose for goal. That is why we are right to go for him. And if he doesn’t perform to a good level, Eddie can always smash it like he has done at the end of last season.

  21. Mysticleaves

    Lol. What a post. Saliba announcing he’s staying cos he belongs to Arsenal and had 2 years left in his contract is supposed to be used to mock people? He’s reminding Arteta and the club the obvious. Play me now or risk losing me for free. It’s a dicey one. If he don’t play he don’t sign a new deal!

    So either he’s still sold this summer or we lose him for free cos Arteta sure won’t bench his golden White for Saliba.

    Saliba should never have gone on loan and White should never have been signed for 50m. Colossal waste of money and lack of eye for talent

  22. Ishola70

    lol I think some are getting a little lost regarding the Jesus transfer.

    We are not a CL club and haven’t been for years.

    Signing Jesus is actually notable for a club that have been CL starved.

    And of course he comes in as a first team player and Nketiah will be his back-up.

    That’s if he signs.

  23. Ishola70

    See some are warming to the idea of Zinchenko to the midfield now.

    tbh I’m not sure Zinchenko would be a great success at Arsenal but I see much better overall attributes regarding him over Tielemans.

    If it’s a toss up between Zinchenko and Tielemans then it’s Zinchenko every time.

  24. Pierre

    Let’s hope Arteta learns from last season and starts next season better prepared..
    Covid was blamed for our poor start but in all honesty, i don’t think things would have turned out a lot different without covid as pre season was a bit of a shambles.

    A settled starting 11, with a settled formation in the final couple of pre season games will see us go into the new season with positivity.

    We are normally given a tough start to the season in the fixture list , let’s hope this time we can avoid the top 3 in the opening 6 games as we normally have to play catch up .

  25. raptora

    I’m definitely warming towards the idea of Jesus coming.

    I also saw that Martinelli chose an interesting picture of himself, and in the background it was no one else but Jesus. They are having a banter for sure.

    I like the player and maybe a few days ago I was in two minds about it as he is the same profile of striker as Nketiah, but I do think that’s secondary as most of the time we will need our plan A and for the moment, we should concentrate on upgrading our plan A before we get to worry for our plan B. Normally teams don’t even have that good of a backup CF and just move a winger there like Spuds do with Son, Pool do with Mane, Manure used to do with Rashford and Man City just won the title rotating many different players in the CF position.

    In that line of thoughts, every upgrade on a player that we make this Summer, could make a huge difference at the end of next season. In addition, the games that we’re expected to play will be a lot, so there will be chances for every player to rise or fall depending on the way they develop. There will be enough games for Jesus and for Eddie.

  26. Valentin


    you are entirely right. Pedro cheerleaders are buying the koolAid. Saliba has just followed the script given to him by his agent. Says nothing controversial and keep your option open.

    Marseille still wants him but may not have the fund to buy him outright. So no need to burn his bridges with Arsenal. Real Madrid are also interested but wants first to know whether is. They don’t want to be burnt like they have with the MBappe pursuit. Also he is a low priority for them, so theyvmay decide to come back next summer. With only two years left on his contract and on the back of an excellent season, Saliba held all the cards. His agent just instructed him to publicly say nothing of note. So if he is sold he can pretend that it was the club decision even if behind the scene his agent decides to force the club’s hands.

    Do I think he will be at Arsenal in September? Maybe, but I doubt it. A loan to Marseille with an obligation to buy for £25 millions seems more likely to me . Do I believe he will sign an extension? No Why would he?

  27. Valentin

    Personally in view of where Arsenal is from football and financial perspective, I don’t see the attraction of the deal for Jesus, especially not at the numbers banded around.

    I think that ManCity know what they are doing. Pep played him two seasons as a striker and he was not pulling any tree. So they moved him to the wings They bought Torres as a winger and moved him centrally ahead of Jesus him. Last summer They then tried to get Kane. Last season they still rather play without a No9 than trust Jesus. They realised that they needed an upgrade and this summer they got it with Haaland.

    Jesus is the kind of decent, busy type of strikers but is not very clinical. He may be better than Nkethia at linking play, but Eddie is better at creating chances by himself and at scoring. In my view he is an upgrade on Lacazette, but he also lacks the physicality to hold up play.

  28. Un

    Listening t the podcast, the talk of Gnabry…..
    Can we dare to dream? Real Madrid have ruled themselves out. Let’s hope Liverpool don’t go in for him. Move heaven and get that man. We can take de jong or Savic next season.