The Arsenal loanee is enjoying another stellar loan campaign at French outfit Marseille – but has been issued a stern warning by manager Jorge Sampaoli over his on the ball decisions
William Saliba has admitted he has been on the end of some stern telling-offs from manager Jorge Sampaoli over what the Marseille boss describes as “kids passes.”
The France Under-21 international is currently enjoying his third loan spell in three seasons since he made the switch to Arsenal in the summer of 2019, though he is yet to make a competitive appearance for the Gunners.
Saliba has instead spent the last three campaigns at St Etienne, OGC Nice and Marseille aiming to amass enough experience to return ready for the rigours of the Premier League.
He has become a regular at the Stade Velodrome, establishing himself as one of the most promising central defenders in France while under the watchful eye of the Arsenal hierarchy keeping tabs on his performances.
Sampaoli is known for his fierce temper – the Argentine no stranger to an on-field spat, most recently coming to blows with former Arsenal boss Unai Emery in a pre-season friendly.
With that in mind, he is someone who his players will not want to get on the wrong side of.
Saliba has given an insight into what it is like to play under the 61-year-old, revealing to Téléfoot : “With [Jorge] Sampaoli, we have to give it our all from start to finish.
“We can’t do things half-heartedly. Sometimes I don’t put enough power on my passes and he tells me: ‘those are kids’ passes!'”
Saliba also explained his reasons for wanting to make the loan switch to Marseille, citing the passion of the fans as a huge factor.
“[Pablo] Longoria told me that if I wanted to reach the next level in my progression, I had to come here.
“If you can perform at Marseille, to play under this pressure, you can play anywhere else.”
“I hadn’t even signed yet and I was already getting messages from supporters. I’ve never seen passion like this, in this town the only thing that matters is OM!”
Arsenal have often faced criticism over their handling of Saliba – a player once dubbed the ‘Mbappe of centre-halves’, who has yet to make an impression on either Emery or Arteta since his arrival in North London.
Arteta spoke about Saliba’s prospects of enjoying a lengthy career at Arsenal earlier this summer.
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“A lot of things have happened to him he’s a long-term player for us and we need to protect him as well. And giving him three or four games is not enough,” the Arsenal boss explained.
“For him, he needs much more than that, because what happened in the last 18 months, he’s been through some personal problems as well that we have to try to help him and stay as close as possible to him.
“And now he needs to play, play and play and enjoy his profession as well. And in order to do that I think we found the right club with him.
“He’s very happy to go there now. Hopefully he can enjoy his football and be ready for us for next season.”