William Saliba’s Comments About Mikel Arteta Are Entirely Understandable
In coming to Arsenal for £27m in the summer of 2019, Saliba shunned the advances of Atletico Madrid, Manchester United, Tottenham and Everton to join the club he supported as a boy.
18 months down the line and he doesn’t have a senior outing to his name and just one appearance on the bench in the first round of the Carabao Cup Arsenal played in. Would anyone not hold a grudge in this instance?
Arteta has felt throughout that Saliba is not ready for the step up…yet. In that case the manager’s beliefs must be respected. No fan watches the training sessions as much as he does. However, the omission entirely from senior matchday squads ceased only to knock his confidence. Saliba’s frustration at not being given even one real opportunity is more than expected.
Does he need to keep voicing his opinion? It’s hard for him not to.
As soon as he stepped foot in France every single interview he had was set to be laced with an Arsenal undertone. In this particular one, he says nothing untoward of Arsenal or Arteta until the interviewers keep asking. When you’ve felt that you weren’t given a fair crack of the whip you’ll feel unjustly treated, and if the question is repeatedly posed to him he can’t keep bottling up his response.
How much say he has in the quantity of interviews he gives won’t be known outside of his camp, but it mustn’t be forgotten that Saliba is still only 19 years old, in his second loan spell since moving to the Premier League for nearly £30m and been through an unquestionably tough period personally.
His career being mishandled – some would say managed accordingly due to the delicate circumstances – has not only been an action of shortsightedness, but come at the cost of money and time.
The latest comments when translated come across as a not-so-subtle dig. Not at all. He’s just voiced that he’d rather have played more (shock), but that football is sometimes pans out that way. Assumptions that the end is nigh for his time at Arsenal are wide of the mark.
This is a young man doing brilliantly over in Ligue 1 who wants to play football. Arsenal have felt it’s too soon for him to do that with them, for reasons of their own, but have stressed he is an integral part of the future. As it stands, that stance remains.