Has Saliba talked himself out of an Arsenal career? Or is it Arteta’s error?

Should We Be Worried About What Saliba Is Saying? By Dan Smith

Is it me, or is William Saliba not exactly speaking like someone who is in any rush to return to the Emirates?

The defender was being interviewed after being named Nice’s player of the month. That should be good news for all parties, the idea of sending the teenager back to Ligue 1 was to find his form. Yet instead Saliba isn’t being shy to, in his own way, tell his parent club, ‘I told you so’.

Arsenal have a policy of loaning out their youngsters as part of their development. Yet while Arteta always spoke like he was looking after the 19-year-old, Saliba clearly disagrees.

Our manager cited Ligue 1 being cancelled in March as damaging to Saliba as it meant 6 months without competitive football. The Spaniard also suggested that on top of moving to a new country due to Covid, the centre back was dealing with personal issues, believed to be the death of his parents. That’s why the choice to not include him in the first team squad was not scrutinised as it would have been for someone who cost approx. 30 million.

Life is bigger than football. I can’t imagine how I would cope if anything happened to my Mum, so it certainly wasn’t anyone’s business telling a teenager how to grieve. Yet if Arsenal were in fact showing a duty of care, wouldn’t Saliba be more grateful for that support?

Even if he disagrees and felt ready to play, wouldn’t he at least respect Arsenal for caring?

Reading his interview with RMC, it’s clear the centre back doesn’t feel like this is Arsenal putting their arm round his shoulder and if it is, well.. they forgot to discuss the issue with him: “When I saw that the coach changed a lot changed for me too. In this year there has been a lot of change. He [Arteta] judged me on two and a half matches. I would have liked for him to play me more. But he told me I wasn’t ready. I was waiting for him to give me a chance, but football is like that. When I initially came to Arsenal the league looked very good, so I showed up to training and wanted to train on my own to show the coach I was ready.’

This contradicts what his boss is saying. The player clearly says he showed up in pre-season willing to play and if there has been a ‘change’ which has slowed down his Gunners career, it’s that the man who signed him, Unai Emery, is not there. You must wonder how Arteta will react to being contradicted, especially if he genuinely feels he’s looking after a young man after a hard year. Surely his last instructions to the player was to do his talking on the pitch?

Instead, in just over a month back in his homeland, Saliba has given three interviews. All three have the same tone, he disagrees he wasn’t ready to play in England, was hurt by his treatment and his now happy (which implies he wasn’t happy).

If you speak to Joe Willock or Maitland Niles, they speak about their loan with the understanding this is to help them be better players for Arsenal. When Saliba was asked about his future he said: “I don’t know. I have learned now that it is better not to look too far in the future. So, I am focused on just these six months to try to give absolutely everything and for the rest, we will see.’

Those are not the words of someone who’s long term focus is to be in Arsenal’s first team. Arsenal have already confirmed he has a long-term future in North London, so why put doubt in the air?

The player certainly hasn’t thought or cared how his parent club might feel about him criticising them, in particular Arteta.

He reminds me of a sort of character that; the better he does for Nice, the more assurances he will want from Arsenal.

He already has a big reputation in France and knows there are clubs who will have him if Arsenal don’t want to.

Is Arteta the type of manager who you disrespect then are welcomed back into the first team?
Ask Guendouzi that question!

As things stand though, the way Saliba is talking, he could be the biggest waste of money ever, as it’s still not clear if he will ever play for us.

Of course there is every chance that the player doesn’t see what his coaches do. He might feel in his head he was training well while it takes other eyes to see things are affecting you. There’s countless times in life when you think your fine but are not.

In Arteta’s defence he will say the reason he’s playing well in France is he’s back where he’s comfortable with friends and family. Hence why Nice was chosen as the place to loan him too.
Saliba disagrees, feeling what he’s currently doing he could do in England.

It must be frustrating to see Arsenal in 11th place, yet told you’re not good enough.

Maybe Arsenal are simply being over protective towards a teenager who has had a lot to deal with.

The more you watch Saliba play though and the more you hear him talk, something simply doesn’t add up.

Be Kind In The Comments


READ MORE: William Saliba video under investigation by French FA


  1. I don’t believe his exclusion was due to French league been cancelled earlier or his personal issues..
    Gabriel walked into the first team without a pre season while saliba had preseason with us and played few games…
    It’s clearly because it is not arteta’s signing or saliba doing something he couldn’t stand….
    All his signing no matter how poor they are get undeserved game times.
    It took Auba a red card for him to give Gabriel a chance when he thrived for emery

  2. Saliba though he was walking into the team. All the hype and money spent. Sounds more like the young mans ego got hurt

    1. nonsense. He was a first team player in France, bought for 30mill. Why is it ego that someone would expect to be included in the 1st team squad? He was relegated to U-23s. And now he’s back in France starting for Nice. And please don’t say that France is easier than England and all that stuff. If someone can start for Nice, they can break into the 11th place EPL squad.

  3. I think Arteta just has to let him finish the season in Nice, bring him back and play him in the Europa. Make him work for his mouth and will see his comments after. Same thing with Guendouzi. Play the kids to a stand still. But please bring in Patrick Daka that’s a good stricker

      1. It’s 3 years old, when Saliba was only 16. Show me someone who hasn’t done something stupid at that age?

        1. And if Arsenal stupidly doesn’t want him back, if he has a successful season at Nice, there will be plenty of suitors.

          1. I didn’t say how old it was ,it was filmed on his phone ,does not look good how ever you try to play it down

    1. I believe he was just 17 when he filmed that porn video. Provide there are no other unsemly incidents (as WAS the case with Guendouzi) and bearing in mind his age at that time, im woud overlook it as reason to worry over much. I doubt there are many 17 year old boys, almost anywhere, who are not into porn. No reason to hang him, IMO.

  4. It’s just another case of poor man management; somewhat expected from a rookie manager. Very surprising that a club like Arsenal gives so much power and free reign to a rookie.

    It’s like giving a kid keys to a Ferrari, and letting him learn to drive by himself. Eventually he’ll figure out how to drive, but the car is ragged out and in desperate need of repair.

    Arteta has proved precious little at this point except some of the worst performances and table standing in decades.

    The buck stops with the manager, quality, performances, results, table position. Time Arteta gets held accountable like he holds players accountable. Arteta telling someone they’re”not ready” is rich, the same can be said of him.

  5. It’s a farce that Arteta is still Arsenal manager. He’s been manager over a year and we have no style, no tactics and there is no ethical man management. It’s pathetic. It’s all ‘talk the talk’, but no ‘walk the walk’ from Arteta.

  6. It is understandable that William Saliba is upset given the treatment his lower rated St Ettienne CB team mate has received at Leicester City under Brendan Rodgers in comparison.

    1. Fofana was just lucky that Soyuncu was injured for a long spell. That gave him the rare opportunity to walk into the Leicester team.
      It’s a different scenario with Saliba at Arsenal where there was a surplus of senior central defenders at the time he joined
      I have said elsewhere that the young man seems to be doing more talking than focusing on developing his career. If he’s not willing to defer to the decisions of the manager, then maybe he should be elsewhere.
      There is a world of difference between playing for St Ettienne or Nice to playing in Arsenal.

      1. In reply to corporate 11th place Arteta lover
        Yet his understudy pal has walked directly into leicester and they are above arsenal in the league.
        So it is very clever to play Luiz and get a red anytime instead of developing Saliba.
        No defence for an inexperienced manager with an oversized ego and false ethics.

      2. holding luis wouldnt get into nice r saint etienne teams ps either would bellerin,cedric

      3. He wasn’t surplus. Arteta made a decision that Mustafi and Chambers should be included in the squad over Saliba. How many games has Chambers played? And where is Mustafi right now? How much money did we make off of him? And theres a world of difference betweent St. Ettienne, Nice and Arsenal? Fofana literally proves your point wrong when he walks into Leicester lineup and pushes them into a top 4 fight compared to us.

      4. Fortunate or not, he was registered for EPL and was therefore available to take the opportunity when Soyuncu was injured while Saliba was not even registered for Europa league but relegated to the U-23.

  7. Saliba is clearly someone with a huge ego problem who believes in his hype way too much. Add to that he cannot keep his mouth close.

    Wenger and Ferguson would never have tolerated his attitude but haters will put the blame on arteta.

  8. Why all this hype on this Saliba, he was player of the month for a Nice side that only won 1 game losing 3 while he was at the heart of the defense. His first interview he said he was match fit and the only game he played showed he wasnt ready, even when he played for the under 23 side, he had a red card for a reckless tackle.

    I think players from the French National side have attitude problem (Pogba, Martial, Guendozi, Benzema and lots of them) Barlotelli is the latest player who think too highly of himself but ended in Nice and lower league sides.

    For those who blame the coach for being a rookie, he wasnt a rookie when he handled Xhaka case, neither all the top players who came by a phone call to them (Gabriel, Odegard, Partey and Aubameyang who was convinced to sign a new deal.

    1. What would I not give for a exaggerated opinion of himself Benzema or Pogba at Arsenal. I would imagine I would think highly of myself (Benzema) if I had won four Champions Leagues and score an average of 25 goals a season for 10 seasons. Pogba has not done too badly either except for a bad decision to return to United.

  9. Maybe Arteta identifies very early on that Saliba has the Ozil gene and believes his own hype already.
    Being a young player patience and humility are required. This kid seems to have been hyped so much that he wants it all now, I think now with this leaked video as well his character is damaged and I dont think hell play for arsenal ever!

    1. I think you are too harsh with his video thing. He was maybe 17 at that time, and most young boys are into that sort of thing. Hell, we have well-documented escapades of Ronaldinho and Ronaldo Nazario letting off some steam before matches. Also, if someone who is in the authority makes a wrong decision on you, then all your patience and humility go down the drain. Just ask Tony Pulis, his opinion of Serge Gnabry.

  10. @Ken rsh and others…..

    Who’s the boss? Arteta?
    Never mind fofanna what’s he got to do with anything?
    And there is more than quality to consider when integrating a player into the squad, for instance Luiz can be a liability bit because of what he brings to the dressing room and on the pitch at times theres talk of wanting to keep him around the club.

    From outside in Saliba seems to have some pogba traits and have a big head and high opinions of himself and stuff what anyone else.
    Arteta has seen something he doesnt like and that’s his call to make.

    1. Kieron, and Arteta should be held accountable for his selections, player performances and team results.

  11. I think that from what’s been said by or attributed to him on the media that he really does not want to come back.
    If Arteta really thinks he is not good enough then there is no problem, except of trying to get our £30 million back. If this is not so, then there is that of holding on to a unhappy player. We all know what trouble this can cause. It seems like the usual Arsenal management lose/lose everyway.

  12. Seems like the boy has already given up his Arsenal career, knowing well how MA react to those who has attitude and may be a bad influence in the dressing room and the worst part is he’s not the current gaffer’s signing and it doesn’t matter how good he is, he should have learned from Guendouzi omission from the squad thanks to his bad behaviour and not showing remorse for it

  13. The club cared so much for him that they couldn’t spare even one member of staff to fax the documentation for his loan to St-Etienne on time !

  14. I hope the young man continues to impress with Nice and moves to P SG for 35m.We will never know exactly why Arteta chose not to include him in his plans this season, but I suspect there is more to this than meets the eye.At 19 I would have expected Saliba to show more respect for authority,but perhaps it is a French trait which is evident from the actions of the arrogant Guendousi.I very much doubt if Saliba will pull on the red shirt for Arsenal in the EPL.

  15. The problem is, it’s we the fans who overhype every player and think we know better than the coaches who see them everyday.
    The kid himself confirmed he played some low profile games in which he didn’t even do well enough. But thinks he shouldn’t be judged by that. It is not him to decide that.
    No matter how good he is, he talks too much. And it’s never gonna help him.

    It has little or nothing to do with Arteta. No coach in the world likes a player with attitude.

    1. No one has success in any form of endeavour, unless they are confident in their ability to succeed. Yet William Saliba is accused of being “big headed”. Surely a young player like Saliba, who has moved club, home and country to play for Arsenal, deserves patience and perserverence by the Club? Too many people are drawing conclusions on minimal facts.

      1. See, the fact is, he has in his control the two things necessary for success ( Time and chance). However he decides to use it is his problem. He can either focus on his game time, perform well enough to get his time and chance at Arsenal. Or he can keep talking his chances away.
        And if he or anyone thinks they can talk the coach out of Job, they might be in for a rude shock.

        1. GPeter, valid points and sound advice regarding how William Saliba approaches this season.
          As for talking “the coach out of a job” is exactly what happened to Emery at Arsenal.

          1. Thanks Ozziegunner.
            I’m not sure anyone or any player in particular, let alone an upcoming player can do that to Arteta.(Talk to get him sacked).
            He might be a rookie, but, he has shown how powerful he can be. Overseen the sacking of many, got rid of player power and players that seem unmovable. Trying to balance the books, wages and the clubs account, which is most paramount to the club owners #Kronke&co.
            And despite his flipflop performance, his job don’t even seem to be on the line. Many of us are ignoring all of these.
            No matter how this season goes, he’ll be given another season surely.
            None of us knows the content and the conditions of his contract with his employer#Arsenal#Kronke&co
            We can all sit back, relax and enjoy the bumpy ride this season.
            They@Kronke etal, don’t seem to be bothered as we all are.

  16. Good on Saliba for saying it like he feels it is. I like attitude, although it would be better to show it on the field. He was blatantly not given any opportunities at Arsenal, probably something already decided once David Luiz was given his unwarranted contract extension. It is clear that Arteta has favorites and these are not always based on sound footballing principles. It’s a shame Arsenal have to lose such potential,when good centre halves are so scarce. That it is related to personality issues or internal politics makes it much more frustrating.

    1. Could come back to bite Arsenal big time; however he has a long term contract, which may outlast the current manager.

  17. Arteta said he made a mistake not at least let him play in Europe. If he continues like this he will surely get his chance next season. I actually love it when player is unhappy like this and in this case he has a point, just showes how badly he wants to play!
    Saliba, Willock, AMN, Gendouzi.. if they prove themselves it’s like four new signings 🤣😋

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