Has Arteta been proved right or wrong on Saliba amidst Henry criticisms? (Opinion)

Thierry Henry has claimed that William Saliba didn’t get a fair shot at a role at Arsenal previously, but is he right to complain?

The defender has spent this season out on loan with Marseille where he has played a key role in their side throughout the campaign, and his performances have seen him earn his first call-up to the France international side.

Despite being under contract with Arsenal since 2019, he is still yet to be given his senior debut for the club, and Henry isn’t particularly pleased with his fellow countryman’s treatment so far.

“They didn’t even let him make a mistake,” TH14 told Amazon Prime (via Goal.com). “He left before an error.

“He didn’t even have the chance to compete for his place. What he is doing here is extraordinary. He was rewarded with a selection for the France team.

“Now he belongs to Arsenal, I don’t know where he will end up. We have seen that it was a little difficult for him to express himself on the subject.

“What I know is that he could have been in the Arsenal group. I am not Mikel Arteta, but I found it difficult for him. Anyway, he responded well and that’s the most important thing.”

While you could argue that Saliba could well have improved our squad, Mikel Arteta has steered our side to overachieve as things stand, even if we was to still miss out on the Champions League, while Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes has been instrumental to our progress this term.

Saliba would no doubt have struggled to battle with the duo for minutes this season, and he has fully profited from the time away this season, and that sort of experience shouldn’t be discounted at all.

It seems to me as though everything all round has gone extremely well, while the manager has been able to work with a reduced playing squad in recent months with only the PL to contend with since January, and should we return to the Champions League next season, there could well be enough minutes to go around of the aforementioned trio.

Will Arteta have to be judged on his decisions on Saliba next season? Or does anyone believe that Saliba could have played the role of White this term instead of having invested in his signing?


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  1. Many of you don’t even get the point surrounding this lad.
    The issue is not about going on loan, but not given a single chance to even make an official debut.
    He’s not a kid you bought for thousands of pounds, this lad cost closely to 30m and he can’t even make a debut in a team allegedly full of deadwood. That’s the issue, going on loan isn’t even a problem, but you already made your decision about him before you even allow him to make error.
    I must say, nobody witness him in the training and only the manager saw him train, but you can’t tell me he was bad in training than every player that has had their debut..
    His situation is very similar to ode if you remove the parenting part which is a big factor but if I could remember he had his debut with real Madrid.

    What I don’t understand about Madrid is, they sold ode and went on to get a similar young star with almost same amount fees.

  2. Interesting question about playing and not needing to purchase White.

    Honestly we’ll never know because he never got a chance, 2 preseason games doesn’t show much of anything.

    Even Arteta said he made a mistake not registering Saliba for Europa squad and early stages.

    Perhaps that 50 million would have better been spent elsewhere.

    We’ll see this upcoming year how it plays out.

    1. 👍some of us said this from the very start. Was White worth sacrificing Saliba and pay 50 mil for? No not in my book and yes the money could have been spent elsewhere.

  3. Watched him over this season and he is at his age way above white ,complete shit show if we lose him .
    Obviously Arteta only wants players he as signed which at this moment in time is another notch on his inexperience as a manager.

    1. Have to disagree with henry who once again has made some remarks about arteta and arsenal when they have bounced back after some poor results

      Saliba has had an excellent season at Marseille, but let’s not forget last season where he had excellent performances alongside mediocre . Which is fine as he is still young .

      This season at marseille he has played under a good manager who is a firm believer of team ethic along with good football.

      People will say we paid 50 million for white when we had saliba, yes white’s price was a huge amount however he had a whole lot more experience at lower leagues and in the premiership he also played under bielsa who arteta has a similar philosophy to.

      Henry claims arteta didnt give him a chance , please keep in mind tavares when he started to play this season he was highly praised, he had a off performance against liverpool and then was subbed before half time at forest

      Arteta has shown that even though mistakes happen that players cannot be afforded game time to constantly have bad games

      With saliba if we started to play him and if he suffered two things would happen, we would lose more games , it would hurt his confidence .

      People seem to forget that we are a team in development, we were not even supposed to be in the position where we are now, we were predicted same as last season or at best europa league . Saliba has got more game time since he signed for arsenal on loan than he would have at if we would have kept him

      I know he isnt the greatest defender in history but silvestre even stated he needed another loan season away, which I don’t agree with but this topic of saliba is always brought up after some footage of an excellent tackle, praise from someone or someone questionning why we sent him out on loan.

      One more thing about saliba, he is a very confident young man who isnt afraid to make comments about his experience with his parent club, now as a player at the club would he be vocal to the media about his playing time? He seems to be self focussed. Teams such as city and liverpool are successful because when they buy players they look at their mentality, their attitude , their personality and how they will fit into the teams plans. Those clubs have a culture of where the team ethic the comes first creating a togetherness which is what all successful teams are built on.

      Lastly saliba was purchased under the freak show that was emery, sanhelli mtinslat etc. We also purchased pepe under that clown show – pepe has shown to be a 20 million pound player and possibly only to be able to play in that league at the level we saw for lille.. saliba the more game time he gets playing in defence will help him when he does come to arsenal and the french league is inferior to the PL so that has to be taken into account also

        1. What’s with the middle finger hair dryer .
          For someone with always to much to say I’m quite surprised you couldn’t come up with a better reply .

  4. Its so so much more than the article is trying to say. Its just mismanagement and Saliba isn’t happy with Arsenal. The article is trying to paint a picture that isnt there, Henry knows there was problems with his treatment.

  5. The club obviously saw enough in the months that he played for the U23s to decide that he wasn’t ready for the PL. While he’s doing well this season, the league in France is nowhere near the standard of the PL, Marseille got hammered at home the other night by mid table Lyon 3-0. Also his performances in the EL were nothing to write home about, meaning they dropped down to the Conference League and are in the Semi Finals. He’s got another 2 years left on his contract, get him to sign an extension or sell him.

    1. @Herr Drier
      You make it seem as if we’re ready to lift the EPL cup. How many mid table teams have hammered us this season and we were only playing 1match a week for the longest of time, after getting knocked out early from all the other competitions. Guess that 50 mil spent on Ben was worth it…IJS

      1. No mid table team have battered us at home this season, our heaviest defeats at home have been 0-2 by Chelsea and Liverpool ! No way have I ever said we’re ready to lift the PL, that will take a while considering the job Arteta has had to face. Better to spend £50m on a defender that fit straight into the team than spend £30m on a defender who struggles against other U23 teams…595.

        1. @Herr Drier
          It doesn’t matter where they beat us. Fact remains they did, while our 50 mil man was caught either ball watching or too short to shift…Yeah, he really fit in alright. IJS

          1. There’s a difference between losing away and getting battered at home, just like there’s a difference between the PL and the French League. While White has been at fault for some of the goals conceded so has Gabriel. For all anyone knows we may have conceded even more with Saliba playing instead of White…595

            1. Cherry picking again Herr, better league or not, Marseilles are second, they will get CL football next season, Saliba has been nominated for player of the season in the French league and got his first French cap. There is no excuses at all to defend his treatment and cherry picking one game means absolutely nothing. They haven’t lost 3 games on the trot too mid table teams, now thats top cherry picking!!!!!!

              1. Cherry picking Reggie ? Just stating facts. Yes he got his first 2 caps for France thanks to an injury to one of the regulars. As I’ve already mentioned, obviously the reports from his U23 games that he played for The Arsenal didn’t warrant him a place in the 25 man squad, so a loan was the best option for both parties. I can just imagine the flack he would get if he was making mistakes for us.

                1. But they aren’t facts, they are opinions to suit by cherry picking. It doesn’t explain why we ostracised Saliba.

                    1. No Reggie they ARE facts. Getting marks of 6 and 4 in EL are facts. The French League is not on a par with the PL, that’s a fact. He was selected to play for France due to an injury to another player, a fact. Do some research if you don’t believe me !

    2. First of all Marseille had played in Europe few days earlier,the manager had to make changes with the likes of Guendouzi on the bench.i watched the game OM could and should have been 2-0 up,their CF missing 2 sitters ,even after going behind,they missed more chances,it was obvious that they were tired and lacking sharpness.

      1. We played Chelsea and then Man Utd in the space of 3 days, with a much smaller squad and won both games. Neither of those teams were mid table.

        1. @Herr Drier
          After losing 3 on the trot to mid table teams. Chelsea and MU are still playing in Europe. While we have only 1match a week. Ooops!

  6. This must rank as one of the strangest decisions our club has ever made.
    Purchasing a player being chased by numerous clubs, with the player himself saying that it was his choice to sign for the club, seemed like a marriage made in heaven.

    Then UE was sacked and MA arrived and decided to send him out on loan.
    Part of the reasoning was a very personal incident and I believe our club showed passion and integrity.
    In fact, both WS and MA publically acknowledged the decision was mutual and agreed by both parties.

    It was what followed that completely bemused me – signing White for £50,000,000 plus, purchasing Pablo Mari and not registering WS as an Arsenal player, defied all logic.

    Henry is absolutely correct and, if I was WS, I would seriously question whether playing for Arsenal, under MA, would be a step in the right direction.

    1. Good points Ken, his treatment raises questions.

      Arteta felt Saliba wasn’t ready, yet Nketiah, Lokogna, and Tavares are?

      If Saliba got opportunities and failed to impress I don’t think there would be an issue. But he never even got a look and that is what surprised many.

      White Gabriel Xhaka Saka and Tierney and Ramsdale are virtually guaranteed to start, so Saliba raises a fair point about his chances and wanting minutes.

      Hopefully next season soothes things over, but big big miss on club’s part if we mismanage Saliba.

  7. Henry was a great player but in his last 3 seasons his arrogance and disdain for team mates shone bright. His foray into management further highlighted his limitations.
    These days he spouts an endless diatribe of Arsenal criticism. Legend my arse.
    I dont like Arteta but I would back his decision making over Henrys every day of the week.

    1. Yeah I’ll never forget Henry throwing his arms up in disgust at Rosicky when a pass from Rosicky never went to Henry’s feet in the first season at the Bowl. Also he was very lucky not to get sent off after scoring on his return in the FA Cup game against Leeds. He kicked the Leeds LB way after the ball had gone, and that was right in front of me.

        1. Yep, got a problem with the truth Reggie ? Do you remember what he said on the club’s website just after signing his new contract in ’06 ? I never want to play for Barcelona or in Spain is what he said. The £5m loyalty bonus he got when signing that new deal, where do you think that went?

          1. The truth is that Henry wants the best for Arsenal and has an opinion like everyone else. What he says is HIS opinion, i and few more agree with him.

    2. Silentstan, your arse might be a legend to you, but I can’t see it being immortalised outside the Emirates 👀

      Now, can you give me some examples of the “endless diatribe of Arsenal criticism” Henry makes?

      It was only a few days ago that he was being praised by one and all for telling it as it was during his job as a pundit.

    3. Just because Henry did whatevee you said does not stop him from being our club legend.
      Just because he has a differing view point / opinion to yours does not disqualify him from being our club legend.
      Lets keep calmer / coolers heads and control our emotions when making arguing.

      1. He is a club legend but we do not have to share his views on how a player is managed.
        Arteta did not believe he was ready and some of us accept his judgment. Others don’t. They are entitled to their opinion just as those who agree with Arteta are entitled to theirs.

  8. Too early to answer that question one way or another. What I’m fairly confident of is that he is better now than he would of been as a bit player at Arsenal.

    Hopefully we get to see the benefit of that next season.

  9. I can see some fans here disrespecting Henry just like they have done all season.
    Some of them are even questioning is legend status.
    I have a sad announcement for their likes.
    Weather they recognize him as a legend or not, his statue is up there in the Emirates and he will be rememberd by thousands of supporters who visit there weekly.
    I can’t say the same about you or whoever you are backing that warrant the disrespect of the legend.
    This is the problem.
    You can’t question the manager and he can’t be criticize.
    But every week many scapegoat the players even when we win.
    Until we all agree that critism is part of the game, and it doesn’t matter who face it .
    You scream back your club when there’s a criticism towards the manager, but you are quickly to call our korenke and scapegoat players if things not going accordingly..
    Then you are not practiceing your own speech.

    1. Been past all of the statues loads of times, doesn’t change my opinion on the players/manager the represent. Henry is a club legend and always will be, but sometimes the truth hurts.

      1. You can cherry pick comments and things from anyone about anything if you want too, too suit your opinion.🙂

  10. You guys are deviating off the topic here! I think we should start by analysing all the players arteta has been questioned about and how he responded! Ain’t saying arteta is right or Legend Th14 is but, he seems to always find a way to spring surprises with almost all of them! Martinelli people were questioning why he is a bench warmer and he was brought when arteta deemed not fit enough to play and impact the game and he flopped or got a set back but he worked with him behind the scenes and we reaped the rewards! Same to Nkentiah, Smith Rowe, Odegaard and so on. He lost three games while trying to blend xhaka and elneny in training but not on the pitch. We saw the results. The only difference in WS case is that, he is being natured elsewhere and in front of our eyes and the media that’s why we are having this issue! Also arteta admitted to have made a mistake in snubbing nkentiah but trust me that was for the media. He knows he had to blend the guy with the team not to affect their performance and it paid dividends in abundance. Let the season end and we see what MA has in store for WS and i think we can take it from there!

    1. I try as much as possible to agree with your comment but I can’t help it.
      Arteta has had xhaka and elneny for like 3years. And you are telling me it takes a 3game loss for him to train them behind the scene so they could play together.. really??
      So nketia need a whole season behind the scene to get a start in the EPL??
      Mate we all know the only reason for nketia having to start matches now was laca allegedly having covid. It has nothing to do with nketia improvement.
      Just like many players you mentioned here
      They only got featured for an underperforming player and not because of one special training being given to them.

  11. My goodness, can people stop acting like zombies?
    Just because a former player, Manager etc is a legend does not mean we should all just worship them and their own personal opinions.

    People are allowed to question or praise any given fan favourites manager or player. Just because any player or manager has a statue at the club does mean they are some infallible super-human that their own person opinion should never be questioned or praised.

    It is as stupid as saying a given player / manager is not a legend just because they have an opinion I don’t agree with.

    Can’t we all stop this childish / fallacious and illogical reasoning?

  12. What a lot of you dont realise is we were mid pandemic, we had on the books Luiz, Holding, Mustafi, CC, Mari, Mavro, Sokratis and Saliba.

    NO ONE WANTED HALF OF THEM and the club had to balance the books somewhere.

    I really dont understand all the whinging, just wait to see what happens in the summer.

    He may well be the best CB the world will ever see, but if he’s a asshat of a person like MG is he can go and i wouldnt bat an eye at that either.

    we have 4 games to go, rock up, cheers up and support he team till the end.

    nothing you moan about here will change anything, so why bother??

  13. As I remember it, Arteta saw Saliba in training and a couple of pre-season games and decided he wasn’t ready. Henry didn’t see the training so he doesn’t have the info MA has.

    The mistake as I see it is not sending him to a PL or Championship club – playing in France is different.

    Also, sending him to a club with a malcontent like Guendouzi pouring poison in his ear for a year… perhaps not the best. I’m not saying he’s doing that, but I’m pretty sure he won’t have much good to say about Arsenal and Saliba is unlikely to have the aturity to read between the lines..

  14. @NY_Gunner both Man Utd and Chelsea were out of Europe when we beat them. Oooooops

  15. Yeah he so wanted the best for The Arsenal that he walked out of his coaching job with the younger players so that he could carry on working for Sky Sports 🙄

  16. Saliba feels no connection to Arsenal. thats a problem. he’s been a “player” three seasons for us and we even put him in U23. Maybe I’m wrong and there is better communication behind the scenes but I would feel as tho the club does not take my career as seriously if this were the case.

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