Saliba slams Arsenal boss Arteta: He judged me on two-and-a-half matches

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST 2 min read
Saliba slams Arsenal boss Arteta: He judged me on two-and-a-half matches

Arsenal defender William Saliba has again criticised manager Mikel Arteta for his handling of him before he went on loan to Nice in January.

Saliba, who was signed from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019, was sent back on loan the Ligue 1 side last term and has yet to make his competitive debut for Arsenal.

He spent a frustrating first part of the season out of the Premier League squad but was not used in the Europa League either.

Since moving on loan to Nice, he has been named the club’s Player of the Month for January and has received critical acclaim for his performances in an ailing side.

On Monday, he launched another broadside on the Arsenal manager for his lack of opportunities.

“Mikel Arteta judged me on two-and-a-half games,” he told RMC.

“When I initially came to Arsenal the league looked very good so I showed up to training and wanted to train on my own to show the coach I was ready.

“I would’ve liked for him to play me more, but he told me I wasn’t ready. I was waiting for him to give me a chance, but football is like that.”

Saliba said that the sacking of Unai Emery was a turning point for him.

“When I saw that the coach changed a lot changed for me too. In this year there has been a lot of change,” he said.

“When I initially came to Arsenal the league looked very good so I showed up to training and wanted to train on my own to show the coach I was ready.

“I am happy now, I want to play for Nice. The idea when you’re part of a team is a better feeling for me.”

Saliba has been an ever present in the starting XI since moving to Nice at the beginning of January and played a starring role as they secured a 3-0 win over Angers on Sunday to ease their relegation fears.

While with Arsenal, meanwhile, the closest he got to first-team action was a couple of EFL Trophy matches, in which he was sent off in the second against Wimbledon.

This is not the first time that Saliba has levelled criticism at the Arsenal boss, suggesting he should have been given more opportunities to impress before being moved to Nice until the end of the campaign.

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