WILLIAM SALIBA has proven his heart does lie at Arsenal, after all.
Earlier this week, the France star, 21, hinted he could quit the Gunners to join loan side Marseille on a permanent deal.
But Dimitri Payet – Saliba's team-mate at the Ligue 1 giants – has revealed the defender still keeps tabs on how his parent club are faring.
The former West Ham midfielder revealed: "Saliba loves Arsenal.
"I have seen him watch his club many times."
The news will come as a major boost to Gooners, who have long tipped Salibto a lead their defensive line for the next decade despite the Frenchman still not having made his debut for the club.
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Saliba joined Arsenal from Saint-Etienne in a £27million deal in 2019 but was immediately loaned back to the French side.
He has since enjoyed loan spells at Nice and Marseille – earning his debut France caps last month.
But Saliba recently hinted he could STAY at Marseille – currently second in Ligue 1, behind only Paris Saint-Germain – after piling praise on his current employers.
When asked if he could snub a Gunners return, Saliba told Le Parisien: "There is always a chance.
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"I do not hide that I am very happy in Marseille.
"I have developed, I have passed a milestone.
"If I make it into France's [World Cup] squad it's thanks to Marseille, because there is a lot of visibility.
"They are a very big club with a lot of pressure, but when you're good there are a lot of good things that happen to you.
"We will see in May or June depending on the discussions.
"Today, my future, I don't know what it is."
But Payet's revelation will ease Arsenal fans' fears with Saliba still potentially having a future under Arteta.
And Saliba also revealed the Gunners are in regular contact with him – even appearing to thank them for sending him on loan to develop.
He told L'Equipe: "They (Arsenal) are often in contact with my agent and send me messages.
"They watch my matches. They tell me to continue like this. The coach made his choices, that's life.
"I left on loan, played more matches and thanks to my performances, I became an international.
"What happened to me helped forge a mental toughness.
"You don't play just because you cost £27million. I take it positively. Even if there are times when you ask yourself questions.
"For six months, I saw that I was the the only one in the group not to play, it hurt.
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"I'm sure I can't just be on the bench at Arsenal and be happy. I want to play as a starter.
"Afterwards, if I come into the rotation as a substitute, it's not like staying with the Under-23s and never being in the squad."
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