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‘He told me I wasn’t ready’ – Saliba opens up on his Arsenal struggles after being ‘judged’ by Arteta

William Saliba has opened up on his struggles at Arsenal and revealed that Mikel Arteta told him he ‘wasn’t ready’ for first-team football at the Emirates.

Saliba signed for the north London side in a £27m deal from Saint-Etienne in 2019 before spending last season on loan with the Ligue 1 outfit to continue his development, returning to Arsenal during the summer but failing to break into the senior side.

The defender failed to make a first-team appearances and has since been loaned out once more, returning to France with Nice in January where he has since made an impressive start to win the club’s Player of the Month award.

Saliba was signed by former manager Unai Emery before failing to win favour following Arteta’s appointment, and the teenager has now aimed a dig at the Arsenal boss who he says ‘judged’ him on just ‘two-and-a-half matches’ of action.

“It is clear that so much has changed in the last year,” he told RMC.

“When I saw that the coach changed a lot changed for me too. In this year there has been a lot of change.

“He 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.

“I am happy now, I want to play for Nice. The idea when you’re part of a team is a better feeling for me.”

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