The William Saliba-Arsenal relationship remains a strange one, with the Frenchman yet to make a competitive appearance for the club. The 21-year-old was signed by the Gunners in a £27 million deal from St. Etienne in 2019.

The France international remains a highly-rated prospect across Europe, and improved his value with an impressive loan spell with Marseille last season. Saliba is hopeful of getting a regular chance with the Arsenal first-team during the upcoming 2022-23 Premier League campaign.

Mikel Arteta has in the past spoken highly of Saliba, who was voted Ligue1's Young Player of the Year last season. The Spanish coach, however, was not convinced about Saliba's ability to adapt to the Premier League during his early years with the team and opted to loan him out for the last two campaigns.

William Saliba
Matteo Guendouzi and William Saliba (R) Getty Images | Christophe SIMON / AFP

The manager's actions were surprising to many Arsenal supporters, especially since the centre-back was garnering rave reviews for his performances in the French League. Former Gunners skipper Per Mertesacker has now urged Arteta to give Saliba a chance during the upcoming campaign.

"What William has done in Marseille is magnificent," Mertesacker said, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.

The Arsenal Academy manager added that they need to "really test him this summer and see what's best for him." In addition, he said that "he has clearly made his mark with his young age, with his playing in a major league in Europe and being one of the best players says it all. So why not use him?"

Marseille wanted to retain Saliba, and were even exploring the possibility of making his loan deal permanent. However, Arsenal were unwilling to sell and were aided by the player's desire to prove himself in the Premier League having exceeded expectations in France.

Saliba returned for pre-season training earlier this week and is expected to travel to the United States with the Arsenal first team. Arteta's side will play three games in America before returning to London for the start of the new campaign on Aug. 6.

Arsenal are said to view Saliba as a long-term prospect, with multiple reports claiming that he is close to signing a new long-term deal with the club. The France international's current deal runs until the summer of 2025.

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta is searching for answers at Arsenal Jon Super/POOL