Can Arsenal only blame themselves for latest Saliba situation? (Opinion)

William Saliba has supposedly informed both Arsenal and Marseille that his clear wish is to extend his loan in France.

The defender is yet to make his senior debut for the Gunners despite signing in the summer of 2019, enjoying three separate loans in Ligue 1 since, with his most recent outing by far the most impressive.

Saliba picked up the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Season award for his troubles after helping Marseille to finish second in the division, earning them a place in next season’s Champions league, but is supposed to return to to north London ahead of the new campaign.

The defender is now claimed to have made his intentions clear that he has absolutely no interest in staying at the Emirates next season to play as a ‘spare part’.

Should these reports prove to be true, and judging by previous interviews I would tend to believe such reports, it will now be down to Mikel Arteta to either force the player to get in line, offer him a guaranteed amount of first-team football, or as we have previously seen, shun a player with the wrong attitude.

I’d hate to see this turn out to be another Matteo Guendouzi situation, as I firmly believe that Saliba is more-than good enough to play a key role in our current and future plans, but we can only have ourselves to blame if this turns sour.

Saliba should have been given the chance to make his mark for our first-team previously, and his season in France has only cemented that thought into my mind, and he could well have been what made the difference between us finishing fourth or fifth this term.

If the youngster genuinely wants to go on loan for another year to enjoy CL football with Marseille, that may not be the worst thing, but it would be like telling him that he still isn’t deemed good enough which will likely damage our relationship with him further. IF we are to consider another loan however, a new contract needs to be ironed out beforehand, with the agreement that this will be his last loan away from the club simply to allow him to enjoy the elite European competition while he continues to gain valuable experience.

I wouldn’t be shocked if Saliba is sold without even making a senior appearance for our club, and sold for a profit, but I definitely believe that we should have approached this differently, although the player may be a little difficult to deal with also.

Is Arsenal or the defender in the wrong here (assuming all the above is true)?


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  1. The other option is to say he can go for another year if he signs an extension. Would still feel like delaying the inevitable, but another year would likely raise his value still further (assuming he stays fit)
    I think its pretty clear he should have been retained last season and given a real chance to break into the team at arsenal. Maybe we didn’t need to sign White after all… What a mess

    1. Arteta’s attitude towards his playershas cost Arsenal champions league football and Arsenal is in great danger of loosing another great talent in Saliba.

  2. This was the worry that some fans had regarding this sh1t show of a handling of a young talented player ,while some fans said it was a masterstroke from Arteta 🤔
    He might have to come back but he definitely does not need to sign a new contract and I would be very surprised if he does .

    1. Ugly player power. Down with these mercenaries. Utterly disgraceful that he does not want to be part of our historic club

      1. Who would want to be under Arteta? To be honest Saliba is not to blame.. Arteta won’t improve him nor give him enough playing time.. And if he truly doesn’t like him he will get the Pepe treatment.. Put yourself in Saliba’s shoes

  3. Absolutely shocked….no-one could’ve see this coming!

    He holds all the cards now if he choses no to extend his contract.

    1. No mate, many of us warned that this might happen and who can blame the player?

      I originally thought it was a mutual agreement, but when Saliba was sent out for a second time, he became angry.
      Being voted YPOTY and getting called up for his national team, must have made him even more frustrated and so we are now in this situation.

      It’s all about man management and I’m not sure if this can be resolved in a amicable way that suits our club.
      Hope I’m wrong… but remember he wasn’t one of Mikel’s signings.

      1. Guaranteed playing time shouldn’t be a problem.

        Just ask Xhaka, Ramsdale, Saka, and Gabriel and White for that matter.

        Are White and Gabriel REALLY that much better than Saliba? Are they worthy of being automatic starters?

        Arsenal need best talent available, it’s Arteta’s job to ensure that is possible.

        Been hearing about Saliba’s ego, but what about Arteta’s ego? Shouldn’t it be whatsbest for the club rather than best for player or manager?

        Need an adult at the club to remind the children what is important and comes first.

      2. Ken, 👍 Any decent manager doesnt hold it against a player, that he didnt sign him. The worst example I have seen is the trratment of Mark Bosnich, the Australian goal keeper, when signed by Manchester United from Aston Villa was argiuably the best goal keeper in the EPL. Because Alex Ferguson didnt sign him, he “sent Bosnich to Coventry” and rarely played him.
        One of the strengths of Ange Postecoglou at Glasgow Celtic has been his ability to start with a clean sheet for players he imherited, give them a chance to show their worth and improve players thought to be not up to scratch.

        1. A good example OG.
          I don’t know if Mikel thinks like this, but it certainly seems that way.
          Interesting summer ahead!?!?

        2. Arteta did not sign many of the players who played last season. For example, Saka played many games last season.
          The suggestion that the manager does not play a certain player just because he did not sign him him is not logical.
          I do not know the details of the Bosnich vs Ferguson issue but again the perspective you have provided does not make sense. You painted a ridiculous picture of one the greatest managers in recent football history. The fact some people are willing to accept this version of events without questioning is remarkable.

      3. Agree 100% Ken.

        The Saliba case was so poorly handled by Arteta and the club. No plan, no communication and I understand why he is not keen in coming back to Arsenal.

        Arteta needs to do what Gerard did to sign Kamara on a free: move his bloody a*se, take a plane to Marseille, go to Saliba’s house to explain what the plan is for him at Arsenal and try to convince him he his valued and has a future at the club.

        He’s got 2 years left on his contract and I see only 3 possible good outcomes:

        1- he extends his contract and gets a fair chance at Arsenal
        2- he extends and his loaned out to Marseille again
        3- he doesn’t extend and is being sold this summer

    2. i dont think so, if he doesnt sign, then he stay on the bench for the next 2 years, if we provide better salary he cant turn down at all, but for arsenal management, everything can turn into a mess

      1. I hope Arsenal don’t go back to making panic decisions that will only come back to hurt us financially (wage bill).. Don’t offer ridiculous wages to Saliba just because some people are crying for it like they always do when it comes to their favourite players.
        Before Saliba can get an improved contract at Arsenal he has got to first play / perform in the team next season. Don’t give into the doomers emotions.
        We have recently just cleared out most of our overpaid deadwood. Can’t be giving into the same emotional fans that are known for pressuring the club into giving ridiculous wages to their favourite players..

        Saliba has to come back and prove himself at Arsenal, he has to come back and earn his place in the starting line up. Everyone should be getting in the team on merit. Gabriel, White and Holding should also be fighting to retain their places in the team. Come back and earn your place in the team, you are not entitled to be a starter. Gotta earn it or you should Marseille to put up £50 million plus for you.

        1. Exactly.

          Other comments yeah are borne of hatred for Arteta.

          Arteta did nothing wrong loaning out a player he didn’t see as good enough at that particular time.

          A loan is meant for you to improve, and improve he has done and that he should be grateful for. It is as simple as that.

    3. He can leave if he wants. Nothing suggest he will do well at Arsenal until he actually does well. Marseille is not Arsenal. It is up to him what he wants.

        1. I believe Saliba is wrong and ungrateful in my view. Had he remained in North London he would have had limited game time considering his previous two loan spells before this one. He has been developing into a complete defender we want, but I doubt we would have seen what we saw in OM this just closed season.
          The club is happy with his development and is ready to give him play time, but he has no right to demand guaranteed play time, no player has that right. Play time is earned and all he ought to demand is a fair chance like everyone as long as he demonstrates that he is ready. But to demand guaranteed play time would be absurd in my view.
          He is right to want to play in CL after he helped OM to achieve the right to play in CL, unfortunately his employers wants him back and like obedient employee he must comply with such instructions.

          1. Sorry but you’re biased towards Arteta.. Saliba is not to be blamed in this and any sane player would prefer to stay away from arsenal if they were treated the same way as saliba

            1. Sorry rashid, but you are biased against Arteta!
              Sending him out on loan was the right thing to do, and it has certainly made him a top player…

  4. ben white 50 million down the drain we all know it hes poor one on one and as fpr this pass master luiz was better utter mess as for rob holding LOL

    1. True, it’s clear that Bissouma is the more talented of the two.

      Brighton hasn’t missed a beat selling White. A waste of 50 million we needed elsewhere

  5. Let him wrought on the bench……. He can’t dictate to us whether to loan him or not…. What is our gain if he goes on loan…

    1. If you are treated like that would have wanted to come back having achieved what he achieved. Some of us keep saying these guys are human beings with feelings and not robots while some think because they earned astronomical wages they should deal with it. Do you know he will get paid by wroughting on the bench and go for free. Oh I forgot it is not your money so you don’t care

      1. The question should be why did arteta and the board loaned him.

        Don’t forget he was also at his best when Emery signed him for around £38m.despite his age being 18 and was our expensive defender then.

        And again he never played a single match for us. He was never given an opportunity to prove himself. That’s so sad. He has every right to say or do whatever he wants.

        They should just find a way and settle things with him.

        He was also given the no 4 jersey at arsenal and while on loan it was given to Ben white.

        Who does that.

        The handling is just wrong.

    2. @Savage.
      You reflect my own sentiment.
      He should either beg Marseille to cough up a substantial amount for him, if not then he has no choice but to return to Arsenal and fight for his place like others.
      Arsenal has adopted a new ruthless attitude / mentality when it comes to players thinking they have gotten too big for us.. No more overindulging with those that want to turn into primadonnas..

      Marseille should pay up so that we can use that money towards acquiring a Top striker and another CM to compete with Partey..

      1. So we should sell him and buy another Ben white right.

        Am very sure you’re gonna be among the people saying arsenal lacks defense this season.

        If he was giving a chance and he couldn’t prove himself, that would’ve been better, but he was never given a chance to prove himself at arsenal.

        That’s so sad, just imagine he had a bad season with Olympic Marseille, do you think arsenal will want him back.
        Of course not.

        What If he’s your brother, wouldn’t you have supported him.

        We should change our approach with players.

    3. Savage, you haven’t a clue or concern about the treatment of Saliba, how can you have with a rediculous statement like that.

  6. SOME LUDICROUS AND NONSENSICAL POSTS DISSING White, who has been an excellent buy IMO.

    Also a nonsense comment from Patrick about Saliba who, whatever he may have said or wants, will certainly come back and will play, OFTEN ,in our team.

    Some folk are trying to make a fuss where none exists, as they have an anti MA AGENDA. Ignore then as they are merely whistling in the dark and let them continue to sulk, albeit helplessly and hopelessly!

    1. White has, in his first year been simply average.
      Not helped by the feeling that this Arsenal defence is seemingly capable of collapsing at any moment.
      In fairness, it was the first year that they have played together so hopefully they will improve next season.
      Some good old fashioned George Graham style defensive coaching would help but somehow I get the feeling that would seem regressive to MA who is clearly trying to emulate Pep without the players or resources he has…

    2. The key phrase from your first paragraph was IMO. Why do you have such a problem with differing opinions?

      Anti MA agenda? Some people don’t like him and want him replaced – that’s always going to be the case, even if he does really well next season. It’s not an agenda, just a viewpoint. Some people will change theirs, in either direction, based on what they see, some may even change based on discussions on forums like this, and some people are really stubborn and won’t change. It is what it is.

      If you dislike it so much, why don’t you take your own advice about ignoring “them”?

  7. The story emanates from someone I’ve never heard of (has anyone else?) so of course has to be believed as gospel. There are always so many stories like this when a transfer window is about to open and so many fans believe everything they read but 90% of stories and transfer rumours turn out to be nothing but idle speculation. As for talk of Arteta’s “ego” and White being a flop, I’m not sure what some supposed fans get off on continually peddling such misconceptions.

    1. Most people dug their heels into their Anti-Arteta dissertations from way back in the second part of 2020. No point in over indulging or over engaging them. They already made up their minds going back as far back as 2020.
      All Arteta has to do is keep improving, he can’t force people to give him any slight credit on any matter. He just needs to keep focusing on his job and continue ignoring the overly negative doomers..

      Next season has has to make Top 4 and start taking points off the likes of City and Liverpool. No more “Free Hit or Moral victory” talk. I have to see more consistency or I will join the “Arteta Doomer Crew” myself..
      Next season is the season..

  8. As someone who knows what an agenda against one of our managers actually involves, one smiles at your “sulk, albeit helplessly and hopelessly” for a decade against AW.

    IF Saliba doesn’t want to come back, then it’s his decision and MA will have to decide if he wants to have a toxic player in the club.

    I hope he does play for the club at last, because this defence that cost a lot of money, has let in the second most GA since AW ‘s last season…part of the decade that you insisted we had no defence!!!

    You might see it as a anti Mikel agenda, what tosh!!!
    Saying White at £50,000,000 plus as an excellent buy, shows the ludicrous way you look at players.

    As a realist, having watched White this season, he has been very disappointing and Gabriel, by far the better player, has been covering for him game after game.
    I can only hope that MA can coach him the way Klopp has coached Van Dyke – for the sake of the club – and stop him making such silly mistakes.

      1. Tantasy???
        Read what others are saying, check the amount of goals against – try to remember how you pilloried Wenger for a decade – ask yourself if White was worth it – start being a realist and question if our defence has improved, after a complete revamp since 2018?

        1. Whites been average at best .
          No better than what we have had at the club for the last decade .

          1. White has been poor Dan, so far a bad buy, a waste of money and created a bad situation. I questioned at the time, why buy White, ostracise Saliba and dont strengthen the midfield, when it was the obvious thing to do. Bissouma not white ant Saliba not white would have been the right call.

  9. Many have said that fifth is progress and good enough. If it were, I’m not sure Saliba would be insisting on going back to Marseille. He wants to play in the Champions League (and deservedly so) which we cannot offer. This whole thing is another Arteta masterclass

    1. It’s progress from 8th and 8th, meanwhile we are still leaking goals, not scoring enough and seeing a player of Saliba’s obvious quality wanting to stay in France!!!!
      Says it all really.

      1. Don’t forget Ken, Arteta said something a while back about “No guarantees” when it comes to playing time, at least according to Martinez and his negotiations.

        That is, unless your name is Ramsdale, White, Gabriel, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, who never seem to be at risk of getting dropped.

        I find it interesting that a 10 goal ESR never got to compete with Odegaard for the CAM in our team. Instead, shunted out wide to his weaker position which is obvious to anyone with eyes.

        Whatever happened to the competition and no guarantees Arteta talked about?
        Don’t blame Saliba for looking at our defense stats and performances and questioning his place.

  10. I am really surprised how any sane person could think that Saliba would think anything else after the diabolical treatment he has had. He doesn’t want to come back because he has no respect for the way he has been treated. I cant see how anyone can think or feel anything else for him but sympathy. I am ashamed by the way this football club has treated him, he deserves better.

    1. The saddest part is how some people keep supporting and justifying the manager over this atrocity

  11. If they Marseille really want him then they should pay £50 million for him or it’s up to us to decide where he will end up next season.
    Pay up so that we can have enough money for a striker and another Top CM to compete with Partey..

    If they can’t afford that kind of money they they should forget it. He should come back and fight for his place at Arsenal.


  12. The saddest part is how some people believe this tosh without any reliable evidence and just because it appears on here and nowhere else of any consequence.

    1. Declan, read what the player himself is saying, what our club and Marseille are saying and it’s obvious that something is wrong, or at the least, confusing.

    2. Any thing that gives them an opportunity to continue their “Arteta is the worst thing that has ever happened to Arsenal” theme..
      Any little thing has to be magnified in order to use it as another opportunity to quench their constant personal dislike for Arteta.

  13. the only thing worse than the Blinders plight that has infected a certain segment within the fanbase, is when those with this seemingly incurable infliction spend all of their available free time admonishing those with a well-informed yet contrarian opinion…for a prime example of this sort of nonsensical behaviour simply look up👆

  14. Since we can’t offer him cl football,we send him to marseille on another season long loan but must agree to sign a contract extension before leaving.i’m not a fan of forcing players to stay especially if it has to do with their dreams.

    1. Surely he is good enough now to at least challenge, if not be first choice CB. White and Gabriel aren’t that good!

  15. Fans will be claiming Eufa pro license coaches here week in week out. how many of you watched Saliba pre season game with us, he was so jittery, uncomposed and get disposed of ball so easily, the intensity of the game was too fast for him, above all, he was so young for a central defender in the league, I don’t know any top club in england that plays an under 20 as at then right in their defense.

    A transition year was recommended…..the rest is history, no one here knows what is happening behind the scene, but will be so quick to offer flat advices and go critical all day long on footballing decisions they feel they know much more about, yet with no track record.

    If Saliba feels Marseille is his club, then he should persuade em to cough out whatever arsenal might be asking for, if not, let him move his ass back to his parents club and be a professional football player!

    1. If you don’t know, ask questions. Wesley Fofana to Leicester City from the same Saint Etienne. He became one of the premier league’s best young defender while Saliba was rotting away in the U23s

      1. That’s how you choose to see it, please have you been to any live game?! Did you watch any of his preseason games?

        Anyways fans will be fans

        1. He was deemed not good enough to be even given a squad number by our manager. That was his point.

  16. Some comments here are borne of hatred for Arteta.

    Arteta did nothing wrong loaning out a player he didn’t see as good enough at that particular time.

    A loan is meant for you to improve, and improve he has done and that he should be grateful for. It is as simple as that.

    Like some have said, if Marseille wants him so badly and think he is worth the hype, then they should be willing to pay what he is worth, otherwise let him come back and earn his place and atop being scared of competition.

  17. I believe Saliba is wrong and ungrateful in my view. Had he remained in North London he would have had limited game time considering his previous two loan spells before this one. He has been developing into a complete defender we want, but I doubt we would have seen what we saw in OM this just closed season.
    The club is happy with his development and is ready to give him play time, but he has no right to demand guaranteed play time, no player has that right. Play time is earned and all he ought to demand is a fair chance like everyone as long as he demonstrates that he is ready. But to demand guaranteed play time would be absurd in my view.
    He is right to want to play in CL after he helped OM to achieve the right to play in CL, unfortunately his employers wants him back and like obedient employee he must comply with such instructions.

    1. I’m sure he must have seen what has happened to Nicolas Pepe. No matter how Pepe performs, he will end up on the bench the very next game. White, Ramsdale and Saka have not been good recently and yet they start automatically. You. an add Xhaka to that list if you wish. He’s not blind mate. Arteta has favourites just like Wenger did and the £50m acquisition of White shows that he will not be a starter. Moreover, what’s wrong with a player wanting to reap the fruits of his labour especially when we cannot offer him the same?

      1. I think the first thing Arteta will do is find out if Saliba has bothered to learn English, which he didn’t in his first year of his loan
        Secondly, it is fact that Pepe said even this year that the “language barrier” was one of his biggest problems with Arteta. Three years and its still a problem?
        Not every decision is down to the football skills?

        1. Pat, if we signed Mbappe and he couldn’t speak English, would you send him out on loan?
          Why hasn’t Pepe been sent out on loan, using your example?

          1. @Ken,
            I’d put him in a classroom with a French-speaking English teacher and put a guard on the door until he came out speaking English!
            If I earned 100k a week I would make a bit of an effort to follow my boss’ orders…

            1. If it is that much of an issue the club should have/be providing lessons from the start. I dont believe it is but that doesn’t mean i dont think he should be made to.

  18. I think the best we can hope for, is for Saliba to sign another contract and then we can see if he becomes the rolls royce defender that we all hope to see. It probably means more time away from the club. I believe he was handled badly and he even likened (at the time) his own situation to that of being put into a prison. We are not on good footing. Considering his age, and his potential, it is a shame

  19. Bottom line is whoever scouted him for us did a good job. Integrating him into Arsenal is down to Arteta. Not sure if he can see potential that is first team ready. He needs help and his coaching staff need to step up. I’m worried about favouritism as with some of the homegrowns. They need first team experience rather than wasting Europa league games. Saka was an exception and Gabriel is an Arteta favourite. Patino is a deep lying non-goal scoring midfielder who needs first team experience on loan. We have lots of not scoring DMs!

  20. For sure, blame Saliba for his close personal relationship with the toxic, Matteo Guendouzi (some will argue). He should have known better…
    befriending a french-speaking teammate (with whom he shares the same challenge) – struggling with English. Exceeding poor judgement by a teenager? Really.

    But who takes blame for the almighty cockup, when paperwork supporting Saliba’s second loan spell wasn’t returned on time? Who do we blame when Saliba’s name was excluded from the EUROPA squad because someone forgot to include his name on the list? The player wasn’t even allowed to sit on the bench when we were extremely short of players.

    And who deserves credit for offering to take a pay cut and jumping ship to rebuild a faltering career at Marseille?

    Finally, who deserves credit for this successful outcome, this masterpiece, including “young player of the year award? The answer: our very own rookie and front-runner for manager of the year, Mikel Arteta.

    Free Saliba. F### Arteta. (I’m not allowed to complete the last word; I’m trying hard to be positive, to trust the process).

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