Arteta needs to be more welcoming for the young players
From Mikel Arteta’s numerous comments on William Saliba, it has not felt like the Spaniard sees the young French defender as an integral first team player next season.
“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’ll be back here for sure,” said the Spaniard when asked whether Saliba will have a great impact to play next season with Arsenal.
He continued, “After that, we will make a decision based on the agreement of the role that each player is going to have in the squad.”
When a manager is certain that a young player has huge potential and is part of the plans, they are generally straightforward with questions like this. However, Arteta does not seem too convinced with Saliba.
When the Gunners bought Gabriel Magalhães from French club Lille last season, they did it because of his impressive performances at Ligue 1 in the 2019/20 season.
Saliba on the other hand have had two admirable campaigns at St Etienne in 2018/19 and then more recently at Nice in 2020/21. In spite of that, it feels like his performances are not given due credit by the current Arsenal manager.
It is no secret that the young manager shows signs of hesistancy when it comes to introducing inexperienced and young squad players. One perfect instance for it is the introduction of Emile Smith Rowe.
Arsenal’s creativity void was apparent to every Arsenal fan at the onset last season, but the former Manchester City assistant took two whole months to dispense of Willian in place of Emile Smith Rowe, who was available from October, but was overlooked when the team looked for a spark in the final third.
Although Arteta has earlier stated about his “non-negotiables,” it appears like some of his non-negotiables are more lax with few players, especially the more experienced ones.
With Arteta at the helm, it has occasionally felt like there has been a reluctance to embrace the obvious. The obviousness of the underperforming stars.
The Arsenal faithful’s clamour for the introduction of youth over experience has not always been senseless. Too many times last season, they were let down by players who were good in the past but continued to be bad in the present.
Slowly integrating the likes of William Saliba and even Folarin Balogun and Miguel Azeez will seem rational.
But the supporters uproar will be understandable if their integration in the first team is extremely gradual even if the established stars continue to disappoint on the pitch.