Mikel Arteta ‘fed up’ with William Saliba’s situation at Arsenal and hints £27m defender will be sent out on loan in January having failed to play a single minute for the Gunners
- Arsenal signed defender William Saliba from Saint-Etienne for £27m in 2019
- He was immediately loaned back to the French club for all of last season
- Saliba was expected to go out on loan again but deals fell through in summer
- It’s left the 19-year-old in limbo and out of Arsenal’s squads for this season
- Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta expressed his frustration at Saliba’s situation
Mikel Arteta has admitted he is ‘fed up’ with William Saliba’s lack of game time at Arsenal and hinted the defender could leave on loan in January.
The 19-year-old, who signed from Saint-Etienne for £27million before being loaned back there for the 2019-20 season, wasn’t included in the Gunners’ Premier League or Europa League squads for this season.
He failed to secure a loan move away in the final days of the transfer window amid a row between Arsenal and Saint-Etienne and hasn’t played for Arteta’s side since.
Arsenal’s £27million defender William Saliba in action for their under-23 side last month
The 19-year-old defender was sent back out on loan to former club Saint-Etienne last season
Saint-Etienne accused Arsenal of reneging on an agreement to send Saliba back to France for another season – something the Premier League club denied.
Potential loans to Championship clubs including Watford, Norwich City and Brentford also collapse and that has left Saliba playing for Arsenal’s under-23 team in recent weeks.
And Arteta, speaking ahead of Arsenal’s UEFA Europa League fixture against Molde on Thursday, admitted his unhappiness at the situation.
‘I am fed up with the situation because as you could see we tried to find a way in the last few days to give him some football,’ the Spaniard said.
‘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.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said he was ‘fed up’ of the situation with the young defender
Saliba is likely to be playing under-23 football only for Arsenal between now and January
‘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.’
Asked whether he could go out on loan when the transfer window opens again in January, Arteta added: ‘I don’t know, 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’ situation as well.’
Saliba hasn’t made a single one of Arteta’s squads so far this season.
Saliba challenges Eddie Nketiah in training last month as Mesut Ozil watches on
Arteta expressed regret last week at leaving Saliba out of his 25-man Europa League squad after being left with only Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Magalhes as fit and available centre-backs for the game with Dundalk.
David Luiz, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari were all sidelined with Saliba and Sokratis Papastathopoulos not in the Europa squad.
Arteta said last week: ‘I feel really bad for William Saliba because we had so many central defenders, we decided to leave him out of the squad which was really hurtful for me to do.
‘I was hoping that Pablo would be back in two weeks but he had a setback and then we don’t have Pablo and we don’t have William when he’s fit and available to play.
‘But when you make those decisions, you can’t always think about every possible outcome.’