Arteta to tell Arsenal youngster his fate after ‘massive’ improvements

Date published: Thursday 10th December 2020 12:22 - Neil Foster

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insists talks are ongoing about William Saliba and his future will be sorted out sooner rather than later.

Saliba, 19, signed for the Gunners from St Etienne in the summer of 2019. However, despite a fee in the region of £27m, he was immediately loaned back to the French club.

The rangy defender made 17 appearances in all competitions for Les Verts. But the pandemic ended his time with the Ligue 1 outfit and he returned to the Emirates in the summer.

The France Under-20 star has struggled to make an impact in north London. He has yet to be included in any of Arsenal’s matchday squads and has played exclusively for the Under-23s.

The arrival of Gabriel Magalhaes has pushed him down the pecking order and he may be on his way. It seems unlikely that he will play first-team football this term and Arteta admits dialogue is underway.

“It’s something that we are discussing at the moment,” he said. “The best thing for us to do. It will be decided soon.”

Whether or not the club will look for a loan deal or a permanent switch is not known. But it seems likely that the Parisian will ply his trade elsewhere from January onwards.

Mixed messages on Saliba future

Having played at multiple age-groups for France, it is clear that Saliba is one for the future. But Arsenal need players now who can make an impact as they continue to struggle in the Premier League.

One point from their last four games has seen them slip to 15th in the table – 11 points behind Tottemham.

Arteta is under pressure to turn things around and needs his big players to step up. And it may not be the right time to introduce a teenager to the ranks.

Arteta was also asked when Saliba might be ready to play, and he kept his cards close to his chest.

“Whenever we have the spaces and we believe that he’s ready to play with us,” he added. “To be fair, he’s made massive improvements in the last few months and it’s been a really tricky situation for him.

William Saliba TEAMtalk

“As I mentioned before, we designed a pathway for him and there were a lot of things that happened to him in his personal life and professionally as well.”

The Gunners take on Dundalk in the Europa League on Thursday night before hosting Burnley on Sunday.

READ MORE: Arteta hits back at Partey crticism


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