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The William Saliba request that shows why Arsenal fans should be excited ahead of loan return

Arsenal will welcome back William Saliba in the summer after his loan deal at Saint-Etienne expires.

The Gunners beat off competition to land the centre-back for a fee of around £27million before immediately loaning the teenager back to Les Verts.

The highly-rated defender has missed a portion of this season with injury including a broken foot in November, but his return to the Ligue 1 side has been a welcome one as he continues to gain experience.

Saliba has always insisted that he is fully focused on his current club – but has previously admitted that he keeps a close eye on Arsenal as he knows he will definitely be in north London next season.

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The defender is expected to immediately challenge for a first team place in Mikel Arteta’s side, and his comments when first signing for the Gunners last summer showed the supreme confidence which he has in his own ability.

Speaking to the official Arsenal website in July, the centre-back said: “I come from Bondy. It’s a place that lives and breaths football.

“It’s where I found my identity, my passion, my strength.”

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He also requested that supporters should closely track his progress: “Everything that makes me William. So keep a close eye on me. I’m coming.”

Saliba was also wanted by Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham, who reportedly matched the Gunners’ bid last summer.

But the Frenchman was clear that his decision was an easy one when choosing to sign for Arsenal.

He told the club’s website: “Well, the history, the badge…

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“Since I was little, I’ve been watching Arsenal play in the Champions League and so on, and there are a lot of French players who have come through here.

“So that really helped me to make my mind up.

“This is a big club, and when you come here, you need to be ready.

“So I’m going to try and have a great season with the club that developed me in order to be ready for Arsenal.”