William Saliba enjoyed a stunning debut season for us last year, but the France international defender said he is now setting his sights much higher, after signing a new contract with the club.
The 22 year old first signed for us back in 2019, but after spending most of his first three years in London out on loan, he didn’t make his debut until the opening day of last season. Once he was in the team however, he barely missed a game, until injury brought a premature conclusion to his campaign in March.
But the imposing, powerful centre back showed exactly what he was about during the first part of the campaign, quickly proving himself as one of the best defenders in the league.
With the new season just over the horizon, William is itching to get back into action, especially with his long-term future now assured after putting pen to paper on a new deal.
“Honestly the decision was easy,” he said after signing his contract, “because I had a really good season last season, but unfortunately I didn't finish it because of injury. So I want more. I want to play more years for this amazing club. I didn't achieve anything yet, so I want to win everything with this club.”
Reflecting on his circuitous route to the Arsenal first team, after joining as an 18 year old four years ago, William believes his loan spells at Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille all contributed to making him the player he is now.
“It's good sometimes to learn like this,” he said. “I didn't play when I [first] came, so I learned a lot. I became a new man. It's important for the mentality and then I came back stronger last summer and I knew I would have a chance if I play well.
“I had the confidence of the coach and all the players so it was easy for me. But yeah, it's a good experience because had it been easy, maybe I would not be happy as I am today. The first two years was hard and now I'm happy because I worked hard and I didn't give up.”
That’s all in the past now, and having not played since limping off during our Europa League game at home to Sporting on March 16, he can’t wait to be back in action.
“I'm so, so, so hungry because I didn't play for four months and I didn't help my team. So I hope I won't have an injury this season, I want to be here all this season with the team. I'm so, so hungry to play on. I can't wait to be on the pitch.
“I think we can achieve everything,” he added. “Of course, it's easy to say this, but we have the coach, we have the character, we have the players and every year the team gets stronger. We have better players with a good mentality. We have a good experience from the last season as well. We know that the season is so long. So we are confident and we know we can do something good at this club.”
You can watch the full interview by clicking play on the video above.
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