• William Saliba hoped to play for Saint-Etienne in the Ligue 1 Final but the teams failed to reach an agreement
  • The 19-year-old defender is praying that his loan spell is enough to impress Arsenal F.C. next season
  • Saliba hopes to fulfill his longtime dream of playing for the Gunners

William Saliba hopes that his loan spell has given him enough experience to make the Arsenal F.C. ranks. The 19-year-old signed with the Gunners in 2019 but spent the last two seasons with Saint-Etienne. With the season over, he is now bracing for a bigger challenge as he heads to London for the 2020-21 season.

Saliba will not be playing when Saint-Etienne faces Paris Saint-Germain this Friday in the Ligue 1 final. He will be relegated as a spectator, a bittersweet end to his stint with the club. And the defender recently admitted that he is a bit unhappy with not being able to play for Les Verts one last time.

"I couldn’t miss this. As I am not able to play, I want to at least feel this final as much as possible, by supporting my team in the stadium," Saliba said via L'Equipe.

For Saliba, it would have been a sweet exit. He would have capped his two-year stay with a final stint before moving to Emirates Stadium. He revealed that both clubs tried to work out a deal for him to play one last time, but talks bogged down.

"The two clubs did everything for me to play. But they did not reach an agreement. I was very disappointed," Saliba said.

The only thing Saliba can do now is move on and continue chasing his dream. After two seasons at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, the 19-year-old defender hopes he has collected enough experience and training to fit into the mix of Mikel Arteta.

Saliba believes that the last season was able to help him prepare mentally and physically, hopefully enough to take that massive leap to a different league. After going through struggles and injuries in the past years, he hopes to fulfill his Arsenal dream, a club he admits he has a crush on.

“I fell for Arsenal from the start,” Saliba said. “A number of French players have been there."

For now, Saliba is busy preparing for that big move. He is currently training at London Colney, with the Gunners trying to help him get over his injury problems heading into next season.

Saint-Etienne's French forward William Saliba (L) vies with Dijon's French-Togolese defender Arnold Bouka Moutou (R)
Saint-Etienne's French forward William Saliba (L) vies with Dijon's French-Togolese defender Arnold Bouka Moutou (R) Getty Images | JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP