On Friday, the shock news broke that Marseille boss Jorge Sampaoli was leaving the club. Sampaoli had guided the Ligue 1 side to Champions League football, but will now depart before they play a single minute of it.
Ben Jacobs reports that Sampaoli had concerns over Marseille’s lack of ambition in the transfer market. Notably, he felt they should have done more to sign William Saliba.
But Jacobs says Arsenal – in particular Mikel Arteta – stood firm and simply refused to sell.
Writing on Instagram, Sampaoli wasn’t explicit in his complaints about Marseille, but he did hint at differences in approach between himself and the club hierarchy.
“My rhythm and objectives are not the same as those of the management,” Sampaoli said (via GFFN). “There’s nothing wrong with wanting different things. The important thing is searching for excellence and wanting what’s best for OM.”
Marseille have since come out on the offensive, with club president Pablo Longoria suggesting there was little they could do about Saliba.
“It doesn’t depend on William Saliba, nor on Marseille,” Longoria said. “You have Arsenal and that club has to be respected with its strategies, its ambitions for the transfer window.
“I would be the happiest person in the world if tomorrow we had a player of William Saliba’s level.”
Longoria is set for disappointment on that front. Fabrizio Romano previously reported that the Arsenal hierarchy and Mikel Arteta are both keen for Saliba to be involved with the Gunners this season.
Meanwhile, Chris Wheatley reported that Arsenal’s contract talks with Saliba were moving in a positive direction, with the player set to return for pre-season training shortly.
Saliba is very unlikely to return to Marseille now, so if his departure was one of Sampaoli’s reasons to leave, it was justified.