Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has revealed his frustration with William Saliba’s current predicament amid the Gunners defender’s lack of opportunities at the Emirates.
The 19-year-old signed for the club in the summer of 2019 for a fee of £27m from Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne, yet spent the 2019/20 campaign back on loan in France.
The Frenchman finally arrived in England this summer, although was heavily linked with another temporary move away from the club in order to gain more experience, the defender having been restricted to just 19 appearances in all competitions with the French club last season.
After a deal to return to his former club fell through, the central defender joined up with the Gunners first-team squad, but was left out of Arteta’s 25-man Europa League squad alongside the likes of Mesut Ozil.
With Saliba yet to feature so far this season, former Manchester City assistant Arteta was asked about reports suggesting that the player is ‘fed up’ with his lack of opportunities, with the Spaniard revealing his own annoyance at the whole situation, while also outlining that the number of centre-backs at his disposal have made it difficult to include the teenager.
“I’m fed up with the situation because as you could see, we tried to find a way in the last few days [of the transfer window] to give him some football,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference.
“I explained that he needed that transition year when we decided to buy him and send him on loan to Saint-Etienne. For many reasons, that didn’t happen and he didn’t have that transition year. He needs to go through that and at the moment, with the amount of central defenders that we have in the team, we had to let him out of the squad which is painful.
“After that, we had some injuries and we could have used him but it’s part of this profession.”
Having been unable to ship the player out on loan in the previous window, Arteta was asked whether Saliba could be set for a move in January and explained that the club with have to assess the situation over the next few weeks and months.
“Well, I don’t know,” he said. “We certainly tried in the last few days of the transfer window to find the right club and we had him, but at the end of the day we could not make it.
“We will review the situation in the next few weeks and sit down with him as well and see what is the best thing to do. But it will depend on him and other players’ situations as well.”