Saliba staying put

Arsenal secured William Saliba’s services in the summer of 2019.

However, the centre-back was immediately loaned back to his previous club, Saint-Etienne, for the duration of the 2019/20 campaign.

Saliba then returned to north London over the summer, amid the expectation that, despite his tender years, the 19-year-old would be a fairly regular contributor for Mikel Arteta’s side.

However, since making the move to England, Saliba has failed to make a single senior appearance for the Gunners, even in the League Cup.

This, of course, suggests that, for now at least, Saliba isn’t too high up in Arsenal’s centre-back pecking order. Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, recently attempted to explain how the north Londoners are aiming to best aid the stopper’s development.

In turn, what looked the best option for the Frenchman was some form of loan move.

Both Fulham and his former club, St Etienne, were said to have shown an interest in the defender.

However, when the international transfer window slammed shut, Saliba was still on Arsenal’s books.

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND – APRIL 08: Claude Puel, Manager of Southampton during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Southampton at The Hawthorns on April 8, 2017 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Puel hits out at Arsenal

The 19-year-old has since continued to miss out on Mikel Arteta’s Premier League matchday squads.

And Saliba has also since been left out of Arsenal’s Europa League squad.

Given, in the group stages at least, said competition looked to be a decent chance for Saliba to gain some first-team minutes, it does beg the question, why have Arsenal not allowed Saliba to leave on loan?

The youngster has clearly proved that he is capable of at least playing some part for a side in Europe’s top-five leagues, but after missing out on a Europa League place, it doesn’t seem too likely that Arteta will be affording Saliba too many first-team minutes anytime soon.

And whilst it is hard to say right now, will this lack of minutes hamper the Frenchman’s development?

One man who has seemingly not taken too kindly to the Gunners’ recent treatment of Saliba is his former coach, Claude Puel.

When speaking about the centre-half recently, the St Etienne boss questioned the logic behind Arsenal’s decisions and stated that their thinking was short-term:

“It was short-term [thinking], even for a young player. A superb player like William, to whom I wish the best, has not even made it to Arsenal’s Europa League squad.

“Where is the logic, if not financial? He had a great desire to join us. The club are a bit like family and friends [to him]. His adaptation would have been instant.

“This would have happened if all the conditions had met. It had to remain consistent with our finances and his contract, particularly for the management.”

Quotes via the Daily Star.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Everton FC 5 7 13
2 Liverpool FC 5 0 10
3 Aston Villa FC 3 9 9
4 Leicester City FC 4 5 9
5 Arsenal FC 5 2 9
6 Chelsea FC 5 4 8
7 Tottenham Hotspur FC 4 7 7
8 Leeds United 4 1 7
9 Manchester City FC 4 0 7
10 Southampton FC 5 -1 7
11 Newcastle United FC 5 -2 7
12 Crystal Palace FC 5 -2 7
13 West Ham United FC 4 4 6
14 Manchester United FC 4 -3 6
15 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 4 -3 6
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 5 -2 4
17 Sheffield United FC 5 -5 1
18 West Bromwich Albion 4 -8 1
19 Fulham FC 5 -8 1
20 Burnley FC 3 -5 0
Player Team Goals
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 7
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 7
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 6
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 5
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 5
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 4
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 4
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 4
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 4
Rodriguez, James Everton FC 3
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 3
Jorginho Chelsea FC 3
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 3
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 3
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 3
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 3
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United FC 3
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 2
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City FC 2

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