Arsenal's William Saliba called-up to France U21 squad for the first time
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Arsenal’s has provided further reason for sections of the club’s fanbase to be frustrated today, with the French youngster receiving his first conscription notice for France’s U21 squad ahead of their Euro 2023 qualifying fixtures in September.
William Saliba makes the France U21s squad for the 1st time – full squad details follow on Get French Football News.
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) August 26, 2021
Saliba is joined by other familiar names such as Amine Gouiri (OGC Nice), Eduardo Camavinga (Stade Rennais), Maxence Caqueret (Olympique Lyonnais), Sofiane Diop & Benoît Badiashile (AS Monaco), and Illan Meslier (Leeds United).
The Bondy-native and AS Saint-Étienne youth graduate has long been looked upon as a star in the making for his country, after breaking into ASSE’s first-team back in 2018-19, which prompted his move to Arsenal under then-manager Unai Emery. So, the news comes as little shock that his progression remains on track while Saliba plies his trade at the Stade Vélodrome.
Arsenal have yet to benefit from the purchase of Saliba
Despite Arsenal splashing £26 million to bring Saliba to north London, the defensive prodigy has yet to make a single appearance for the club in three seasons. Instead, three loan spells have taken place, with a strong stint at OGC Nice last season followed up by a fantastic start at Olympique de Marseille in the current campaign.
Nice’s French defender William Saliba (L) is challenged by Metz’s French forward Thierry Ambrose during the French L1 football match between Football Club de Metz and OGC Nice at the Saint-Symphorien Stadium in Longeville-Les-Metz, eastern France on January 9, 2021. (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP) (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Once labeled as a “savior” for Arsenal’s long-term prospects of once again challenging for the Premier League, there have since been far more questions than answers after the regime change that saw both Unai Emery and Raúl Sanllehí ousted and replaced by Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar.
Since said change, Saliba’s status at the club has gone from immediately hopeful to a fringe youngster who has been deemed not good enough by management. Arsenal’s £50 million purchase of Ben White this summer only seemed to confirm the notion that Saliba as yet to impress either Arteta or Edu, but under the guidance of Jorge Sampaoli, his performances have been justly rewarded while plying his trade for a club of immense stature inside France, and maintaining credibility outside of Gallic borders.
With Arsenal’s Premier League campaign hardly taking off without a hitch this season, in a campaign that could once again end in frustration, should Saliba keep performing on the south coast of France, many will continue to wonder what more he will have to do to guarantee his future at the Emirates… if the youngster even wants one at all.