English Stay Best for Saliba?
Of all the points Saliba may argue for why going to Ligue 1 over staying in England is best for him, they all come with counterpoints that make for more logical reasoning.
While if he returned to Saint-Etienne there would be regular minutes, if he’s the player we’re informed he is, then there should be no reason why Championship clubs, who are actively seeking his signing, shouldn’t be inclined to play him every week. If he’s at the standard required, he’ll play.
Having familiarity with the French division to ease him settling in would be beneficial if his aim was to be playing there long-term. Well, that isn’t the goal at all. Internally and externally all associated with Arsenal want him to be a Premier League regular, so getting as much English experience, whether in a lower division or not, is preferable.
Ideally he’d be in and around the first team by now and not integrating into another setup, style of play and surroundings, but this is the state of affairs. Learning how football in this country works and improving his English, not taking his language development back a few steps, is what’s best.
Of course, the quality of the Championship isn’t on par with Ligue 1. There is a better calibre of players in France. What it doesn’t have on the second tier is the same level of competitiveness – games come thick and fast with victory never assured. Such an environment is better suited, not to mention both Saint-Etienne and Nice are having poor seasons this term.
Looking at the sides interested in Saliba, Watford and Brentford are two of the parties hoping to secure him temporarily, both of which wouldn’t require relocating. Even better, the Hornets’ training ground sits adjacent to London Colney. He needn’t even take a different drive to training.
Being close to him to monitor his progress and keep a direct line of communication is essential, which wouldn’t be an issue if he stayed in and around London. In a perfect world, a Premier League side would snap him up for six months. That isn’t the case and now a Championship move is the best of a bad scenario.