Arsenal legend claims returning £27m loanee could face Mikel Arteta conflict

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It does seem overly cynical to claim that a manager would write off a player because he was signed by the previous regime, but it’s talked about so much that it must actually happen.

It looked odd in the Summer when Arsenal were desperate for signings, yet they agreed to loan William Saliba back to Saint-Etienne in a deal that The Guardian reported was worth £27m.

At least it did suggest that they had a plan for the future when it came to finding a solution in defence, but Paul Merson seems to think that his return will just cause problems with Mikel Arteta.

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Merson’s comments were reported by The Mirror, as he suggests that Mikel Arteta would rather have his own players – like January signing Pablo Mari- rather than relying on Unai Emery’s signings.

Talking about the situation with Saliba, Merson said the following:

“Part of me wonders whether he wanted Mari because Saliba isn’t his signing, and there could be some conflict there. But he’s made good signings.

Injuries have limited the 18 year old defender to only eight appearances in Ligue 1 this season, while he’s only made 21 senior league appearances in his career so it could still be too early for him to make that leap to the Arsenal first team.

It’s possible Arteta might decide to loan him out again next year, but it would be astonishing if he does write him off just because it was Emery who signed him last Summer.



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