Negatives of William Saliba’s Loan to Nice
Sadly, this deal poses more negative points than positive ones. It can only have come down to personal decisions, since there were plenty of suitors, but Saliba not going to an English club is a mistake.
Part of maturing and developing in English football is being in the midst of the winter period, playing twice a week and having to wear layer upon layer to manage the bitter cold. But while the festive period is over, the real rigours of football on the island are still in effect.
Being part of such an environment, whether in the Championship or top-flight, would’ve provided a learning curve for Saliba, one he will now have to wait until next season to experience. Culturally, and for sporting reasons, he shouldn’t be going back to Ligue 1.
On top of that, learning the language is vital, and while his English has come on leaps and bounds, he won’t be speaking it daily at Nice. You’d imagine he’s still taking lessons but it’s not the same.
Arsenal want to be keeping a close eye on Saliba throughout the season. With him over in the south of France, scouts or otherwise, it’s better to have close line of communication; one that would have been direct if he’d have gone to Watford, for example.
Above all, yes, he needs to play football. The situation is so far from ideal and it’s now about making the most of an unfortunate situation. He will likely play every minute of Nice’s campaign, which while not the desired destination, is what Arsenal have felt is appropriate.
Can he develop under Adrian Ursea’s three-at-the-back setup? The Romanian has been at Nice for four years and Arsenal must believe so.
At least he’ll play football. Best of luck to him.