Arsenal boss warns that Saliba is not ready yet

Mikel Arteta has warned Arsenal fans that William Saliba is not quite ready for the first-team, with many expecting the defender to make his debut today.

Our side made the short trip across London today to take on Fulham in the Premier League’s opening fixture, but despite a number of defenders on the sideline, Saliba was a surprise omission.

Manager Arteta has now revealed that he will take ‘some time’ before he will be ready to make his mark on the first-team.

“I think it’s going to take him [Saliba] some time to adapt to our way of playing but as well to get adapted to the language, the rhythm, the physicality of the country,” MA told reporters prior to kick-off (via DailyStar).

The Spaniard goes onto claim that his absences during the previous season and his injuries have also had a negative effect, before later hinting at further additions at centre-half.

“As well we have to bear in mind that he didn’t play much football last season with all the injuries he had,” the Gunners boss added.

“So, I think it will be a process that we have to be patient, picking the right games with the right environment and trying to grow because he [Saliba] has a really good potential.

“Everyone was saying that we had too many central defenders and it’s a funny case right now that it’s the position we are short at the moment with all the injuries.

“But I’m hopeful in the next few weeks that situation will resolve and we’ll be in a stronger position.”

Rob Holding, Sokratis and Calum Chambers have all been linked with exits this summer, but Arteta’s comments seem to hint that we will need further additions to the squad, not departures, and I can’t help but feel that Arteta expected Saliba to be able to make the step up to the first-team squad prior to pre-season.

How telling is it that Saliba wasn’t deemed ready for the squad, but Gabriel Magalhaes was ready to start today despite only limited time training with the squad?


Tags Mikel Arteta William Saliba


  1. I fully respect the judgement of MA concerning Saliba who it’s hard to believe is still a teenager.I do hope however that we switch to a flat back four before too long as the prospect of playing two left footed defenders in a back three does not appeal to me and restricts the effectiveness of KT going forward.It will be interesting to see how Arteta shapes his team in the weeks ahead but there is little doubt that the 3-4-3 system has made us difficult to break down.

    1. I hear you Grandad but i have to disagree at this moment in time.
      If you watch the way we play with this 3-4-3 formation, its not really a 3-4-3 , well not all the time.
      When we don’t have the ball, we press in that formation, our shape is very very good, then comes the transition and then possession which we then go 4-3-3, with AMN coming in from LWB and join the midfield and KT then adopts his usual LWB role.
      Its a tactical masterpiece and very well executed and very well coached to have this fluidity and tactical nous from the Manager and players. El Neny played as the sole holding player with Xaka and AMN switching it between each other to push forward.
      We often see today that either Xaka or AMN would join the attack in the sort of CAM position and the other stayed more central.

      All in all, whatever gets us the most points per game and keeps us in contention for top 4, I’m all for it, even if we went full park the bus, I’m game if it means we win more games.

      1. Val. you have just pointed out my observation on our style of play which I don’t have a problem with as far as it brings us the maximum points in games

        Haven said that I think when players like Mari, Liuz are back and Saliba becomes ready and we finally sign Partey and Aour or either of them am sure Tierney will be moved further the left flank to properly operate as the LWB he is.

  2. Arteta I don’t concure with you both defenders joined arsenal this season from ligue one.. So you can’t tell me saliba isn’t ready and you hype Gabriel just because of one match.. Is it because you signed Gabriel and saliba was signed by unai.. This saliba is a great future prospect.otherwise you are bound to destroy his career . Don’t you mimic your former boss’s traits… If anything partner saliba and Gabriel such that they gel to solve defensive weakness we have had for such along nut shell don’t act so big yo just a young manager trying to learn.. No pedigree yet

  3. Not so much of a mystery, perform well and produce results in training, which will lead to opportunities on the pitch to perform and produce.
    If others do it better, than you sit and ready yourself for an opportunity.
    I love it, it’s the way it should be, keeps everyone sharp and ready, and rewards the best with a chance to play.

  4. It is so wonderful to see at long, long,LONG, last an Arsenal side that doesnt look like constantly conceding goals. It was magical to me ( who believes, more than almost any other Gooner, in the vital importance of having a proper defence with players in that defence who CAN defend) to finally see a solid team with the emphasis on the word TEAM, all playing for each oither. THAT is what great managrs do all the time. And that is what has ben conspicuous by its total absence from around 2008 til MA arrived.
    To me, he is therefore a God and at long, long, LONG, last we actually HAVE a defence, something I had despaired of ever seeing playing in our shirts again. HALLELUJAH , SO ONWARDS AND UPWARDS AND HAIL ARTETA!


  5. So Jon, was it not around this time last season, immediately following a 3-1 mauling by Liverpool, that your words were something along the lines of “ never have I been more sure that Emery is the right manager for Arsenal Football Club”. I was travelling back from that humiliation when I read what you posted, and I believe you were in a majority of one with those thoughts. So, what to expect now, Arteta sacked in November?

    1. Exactly

      A few lost and bad run……fans will start condemning the manager and forgot all the hard work that the manager does

      past archives can attest to that

  6. this guy is only 19yo….

    how can he be ready?

    he needs to go on a loan for at least another season

    you cant play Saliba with Gabriel or Holding

    both Gabriel and Holding are inexperience

    Gabriel at 22 yo is still settling and adapting to a new club and country

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