Arsenal are at a crossroads with William Saliba’s future.
Reluctantly agreeing to loan William Saliba back to Saint-Etienne as per the terms of the Ligue 1 side’s demands, Arsenal were starved of the defender’s talents for 12 more months.
Excellent displays in the 2019/20 campaign had supporters purring, even more so when he made his first outing for the club in the pre-season win over MK Dons. Here we are now and he’s been left out of the Europa League squad, nowhere near the top-flight team and left to play Under-23’s football.
The situation is a total mess.
Numerous variables – some desperately sad – contributed to his slow integration, but with the 19-year-old playing weekly for the youth side, the £27m splashed out to bring him to north London looks more puzzling by the day.
With the January transfer window on the horizon, it looks increasingly likely he’ll depart for another loan move, this after attempts were made, and failed, to move him away temporarily at the end of the summer window. This is the cold hard reality at the moment. Regardless of how frustrating it is.
As per ESPN, the conclusion that Saliba needs to go out and play first team football elsewhere is agreed, although that’s where the agreements end. Arsenal staff would prefer that the centre-back remain in England and drop down a tier to the Championship, where he can get a better feel for football on the island and adjust to his surroundings.
Saliba on the other hand favours a move back to France, where both Saint-Etienne and Nice have expressed an interest. So, where is best for him?