Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was quizzed about his plans for William Saliba once the Frenchman returns from his loan spell this summer.
The now 20-year-old was signed by the Gunners in 2019 for a hefty fee of £27 million. (Goal) He was expected by many to be the future of our defence, but he is yet to play a single minute of football for Arsenal.
Arteta didn’t believe he was ready for Premier League football earlier this season. He wanted the Frenchman to leave on loan last summer, but a deal could only be arranged in January.
Arsenal fans are worried about Saliba’s future but the Gunners boss has now revealed that the young defender will be back for pre-season.
Mikel Arteta: William Saliba is our player and he’ll be back
He said, as per Arsenal.com: “When we finish the season, we will sit down. We’re still competing. We will sit down and discuss the roles of every member of the squad and how they can fulfil that role and he’s our player so he (Saliba) will be back here for sure.
“After that, we will make a decision based on the agreement of the role that each player is going to have in the squad.
“We are, as a coaching staff, obviously following his progression, watching his games and in contact with him. It’s not an ideal world to feel that you still belong here and you can have a face-to-face relationship, but we try to do it in the best possible way.”
The Insider’s View:
Arteta’s comments really aren’t reassuring, are they? Sending him out on loan in January was absolutely the right decision. However, the Arsenal boss’ words arguably hint that he still doesn’t fancy the young French defender.
Labelled as a ‘great player‘ by Mathieu Debuchy, Saliba has been a real star for Nice over the past months. The 20-year-old has shown enough to deserve a place at Arsenal next season, but there really is no guarantee, even though David Luiz’s spot will be up for grabs.
The one sure thing at the moment is that Saliba will report for pre-season at Arsenal. Arteta will surely keep a close eye on him, and if the Frenchman does impress, the Gunners boss will have no choice but to keep him around.