William Saliba will get a chance to resurrect his Arsenal career in the summer, according to a report.
Saliba joined Arsenal as a defender with major potential in 2019. He was loaned straight back to Saint Ettiene for the first season of his contract. It was then thought he would play a bigger part back in north London but he was frozen out of the team.
Still awaiting his Arsenal debut, Saliba left on loan for Nice in January. He hit out at Mikel Arteta’s judgement of him after sealing his departure.
It may have seemed like Saliba was burning his bridges and when Nice hinted at a longer stay for him, there appeared to be little chance of him returning to Arsenal. But there still could be a chance for the Frenchman at the Emirates Stadium.
According to Football.London, Arteta is willing to give Saliba a chance to prove himself in pre-season.
One of the factors that blocked Saliba’s pathway last summer was the contract extension handed to David Luiz. Arteta was impressed with the veteran’s influence on younger members of the squad.
However, it seems unlikely Luiz will earn another renewal when his contract expires this summer. There is still plenty of competition for places at the back, but that would be one less obstacle for Saliba.
The 20-year-old has impressed at Nice and earned their Player of the Month award immediately after his arrival. Given that Arsenal spent £28m on him, they will be keen to see some reward for that investment.
And while Arteta didn’t give Saliba much of a chance last year, the situation may change this time around.
Saliba given advice
Recently, former Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna told Saliba what he must develop to carve out a future for himself at the Emirates.
“I still have trust in him; I think he is a good player and he can adapt to Arsenal because I’ve seen him play many times,” Sagna told Goal.
“He is doing well at Nice and has probably been their best player. At that age you need to be playing. He has big potential and in France people know it.
“Sending him away is not a bad thing, it’s not a punishment. To me it’s clever to send him [on loan] rather than him being on the bench or not even being in the squad.
“I’m watching games and maybe he needs to be a bit more aggressive.
“Be a leader, especially in his position. I don’t know if he speaks English. This could be a problem when you come to a new country; but you need to adapt fast, you don’t have time.
“Time is a luxury you don’t have when you come to a club like Arsenal because you have to play straight away.
“To adapt it takes months and Mikel probably saw a problem and thought ‘you need to be more aggressive, you need go out somewhere and play’.
“Then when he comes back, he will have the mentality needed for the Premier League.”