Home North London Thierry Henry’s William Saliba verdict vindicated as Arsenal loanee nominated for Ligue...

Thierry Henry’s William Saliba verdict vindicated as Arsenal loanee nominated for Ligue 1 award

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Arsenal loanee William Saliba has been nominated for Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year. The Frenchman has had an exceptional season at Marseille and has now been honoured for that performance.

Saliba was signed by Unai Emery in the summer of 2019 but instantly sent out on loan to former club Saint-Etienne for the following season. At the end of that spell he returned to north London only to join Nice for the 2020-21 campaign. Last summer saw a number of Arsenal fans call for him to be included in the first team but following the £50 million signing of Ben White, he was sent to Marseille for another season on loan.

Under Jorge Sampaoli’s guidance, Saliba has become one of Ligue 1’s stand out defenders, even earning a call-up to the French first-team for the first time in March. He’s now been honoured even further, as he’s been nominated for the Young Player of the Year award.

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His nomination has seemingly justified Thierry Henry’s opinion that the Gunners shouldn’t have let him leave on loan this campaign: “They didn’t even let him make a mistake. He didn’t even have the chance to compete for his place. What he is doing here is extraordinary. He was rewarded with a selection for the France team,” Henry said in an interview with Amazon Prime. “Now he belongs to Arsenal, I don’t know where he will end up. We have seen that it was a little difficult for him to express himself on the subject.”

Despite saying he is very happy at the Ligue 1 club amid talk of a permanent transfer this summer, football.london understands the plan is for the Gunners to open preliminary talks regarding a new contract towards the end of his loan spell.

It would be a great shame if Saliba – who cost Arsenal £27million – never played for the north Londoners. The loan spells have surely been part of a wider plan, and he could be like a brand new signing if he’s trusted to hit the ground running upon his return.

Other YPOTY nominees: Arnaud Kalimuendo (RC Lens), Castello Lukeba (OL), Nuno Mendes (PSG), Khephren Thuram (OGC Nice).

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https://www.football.london/arsenal-fc/players/william-saliba-arsenal-thierry-henry-23856112