This has been one of Arsenal’s strangest signings ever. William Saliba did not come cheap when Arsenal signed him from St. Etienne 18 months ago and he was supposed to be the mainstay of our future Arsenal defence.
He came highly recommended and was tipped to be a star of the future, and we were all happy that he chose to join us ahead of Tottenham. This is what the Arsenal coach Emery said at the time: “We’re delighted William is joining us. Many teams wanted him but he decided he wanted to come to us and be part of our future,”
“He will stay in France next season for more experience and then we look forward to him joining our group.”
So what went so wrong?
Although the youngster spent the whole summer training with Mikel Arteta, the boss was so unimpressed that he didn’t even give him a spot in our Europa League squad, which could have eased him into the team with some easy games.
Saliba was then offered out on loan, and that also fell through, with St Etienne being particularly upset that Arsenal didn’t follow through with an agreement to loan him back again. So basically he has been stuck with the U21’s.
Just six weeks ago, Arteta was asked when Saliba could ever get a game, and he replied: “Whenever we have the spaces and we believe that he’s ready to play with us. To be fair, he’s made massive improvements in the last few months and it’s been a really tricky situation for him.
“As I mentioned before, we designed a pathway for him and there were a lot of things that happened to him in his personal life and professionally as well. Now we’ve made some steps forward, he’s working really hard and played for the under-21s again.”
So it sounded like there was progress being made, but it now appears that Arteta still doesn’t want him in his squad, and the latest reports say that we would even consider selling him in January….
A meeting between Arsenal & William Saliba last week saw both parties agree to be open to accepting both permanent & loan departure opportunities this month, according to L’Équipe.
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) January 1, 2021
This is very strange, and doesn’t make our recruitment team look good. We spent 72m on Pepe who can hardly get a game, and 27m on Saliba who may never play for us. That is a hell of a lot of money being wasted right there. Surely we couldn’t even get half that back if we sold them right now…