‘Fed up’ Arteta to allow Saliba to leave Arsenal

Martin Macdonald
‘Fed up’ Arteta to allow Saliba to leave Arsenal

Mikel Arteta has admitted that William Saliba could leave Arsenal on loan in January for some game time after being deprived of minutes since his move from Saint-Etienne.

The deal for Saliba was initially confirmed in July of 2019, with the player set to go back out on loan to the Ligue 1 side for the duration of the 2019/20 campaign.

He returned to the Emirates ready for the 2020/21 season, but is yet to make an appearance for the club and wasn’t even included in the Europa League squad, despite pre-season suggestions he could form the preferred central defensive partnership with new signing, Gabriel.

Instead, Arteta has opted to use the likes of Gabriel, Rob Holding, David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Kieran Tierney, and even midfielder Granit Xhaka in the centre-back role either as part of a back three or back four.

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Saliba was on the cusp of rejoining Saint-Etienne on loan on the last day of the transfer window, only for the move to not materialise, leaving the player reportedly frustrated.

Arteta says he is frustrated, too.

“I am fed up with the situation because as you could see we tried to find a way in the last few days [of the transfer window] to give him some football,” he said ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League clash against Molde.

“I explained that he needed that transition year when we decided to buy him and send him on loan to Saint-Etienne, for many reasons that didn’t happen, he didn’t have that transition year and he needs to go through that.

“At the moment, with the amount of central defenders that we have in the team we had to leave him out of the squad which is painful because we have some injuries and we could have used him, but it’s part of this profession.”

The Gunners boss went on to confirm that there is a possibility of another loan move happening in January.

“Yes,” he responded when asked about a new loan agreement.

“We certainly tried in the last few days of the transfer window to find the right club and we had it, but at the end of the day we could not make it.

“We will review his situation in the next few weeks, sit down with him as well and see what is the best thing to do. But it will depend on him and other players’ situations as well.”

With the defenders Arteta has selected so far, Arsenal currently have the best defensive record in the Premier League in 2020/21 as they have conceded just seven goals from their opening seven matches.