There’s something curious about Arsenal’s treatment of William Saliba, but it’s hard to tell if he’s genuinely just not a Premier League quality footballer or if something else is going on.
They spent £27m to sign him in the summer of 2019 before sending him back out on loan to St Etienne, so there were expectations that he would come back to the club this year and challenge for a place in the team.
It’s a tough situation for Mikel Arteta to manage because the squad is overloaded with centre backs, only the problem is that many of them just aren’t good enough for a team that wants to challenge for the top places.
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Saliba missed out on the Premier League squad at the start of the season, but any hopes that he might get a chance to prove himself when the registration re-opens in January have been quashed by a report from ESPN.
They claim that the Gunners have decided that Saliba still has so much to improve on if he wants to play in the Premier League, so they want to send him back out on loan in January after viewing this as a transition year.
St Etienne are expected to be suitors again and it might do him some good to return to comfortable surroundings, but it’s not a great look for Arsenal.
The first team still has plenty of holes and it’s well documented how much they are struggling for funds to sign new players, so throwing £27m at a project type signing doesn’t make sense at all.
You also have to consider that his confidence will be affected by the treatment here so that will only compound matters, so hopefully he does get a loan move in January so he can build himself back up and continues to develop.