Mikel Arteta: "Saliba must start to enjoy his profession."
Stade Brest v OGC Nice - Ligue 1 Uber Eats

William SALIBA of Nice before the Ligue 1 match between Stade Brest and OGC Nice at Stade Francis Le Ble on January 6, 2021 in Brest, France. (Photo by Anthony Dibon/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

Arsenal fans were hoping to see William Saliba play a crucial part of Mikel Arteta's plans this season but things have taken a quick turn in the January transfer window. 

  • On Saliba being a big project for the future 

“We signed a big project that we had some issues with because he’s not played enough football over the past 18 months and at that age, and in the development phase he is at, that is crucial."

Its looking like the boss is hoping for the Frenchman to return to the gunners full of experience and fitness so he is ready to take a centre back spot for the start of next season. 

Considering Arsenal's transfer business this January and in the summer, a spot is well up for grabs as we are seeing a massive clear out.

Arteta is hoping to get a few defenders off the books such as Shkodran Mustafi and the contract is up for the Brazillian David Luiz in the summer. 

  • On Saliba's pre season 

“I was always very conscious when he came back, when he didn’t do the step that he had to before joining us, that to start a relationship with a new manager, a new club, new team-mates where he is not having any game-time is really difficult and I think it is damaging for the future.


It looks like Mikel is trying to be very cautious with the young centre back as he is trying to manage him in a good way and not ruin his career with Arsenal before it has even started. 

Reports were flying around from everywhere about what would happen with Saliba this January and now the situation is finally resolved everyone can watch how he progresses in the Ligue Un this season. 

  • On problems 

“I know that sometimes it is difficult to explain or understand after the money the club spent bringing him in, sending him on loan, but a lot of things have happened to him, he is a long-term player for us and we need to protect him as well."

"Giving him three or four games is not enough for him, he needs much more than that but what has happened over the past 18 months, he has gone through some personal problems as well that we have to try to help him, and stay as close as possible to him, and now he needs to play, play and play and enjoy his profession as well."

The ongoing waiting for Saliba to make an appearance in the Premier League will have to wait for a bit longer as Arsenal try to get Saliba back to his brilliant best. 

  • On his loan 

“In order for him to do that I think we have found the right club with him, he is very happy to go there right now and hopefully he can enjoy his football and be ready for us next season.”

Sending Saliba back to Ligue Un was probably the best option for the youngster as he has the experience and knowledge of how the league works. 

Hopefully he can come in next season and prove why he was ready to be part of the squad this season and be an exciting young prospect for the future. 

  • Looking forward to next season 

“He is going to a really strong league as well, a league he knows really well, he has experience [there] and he needs to play as many games as possible to be ready for us from next season.

“He will come back for pre-season and he will be with us, and hopefully he will come back after playing a number of games and [with] his performances raising and his development progressing in the right way. That is why we made that decision."

Arsenal's poor start to the season was the worst in years and Arsenal fans were asking questions about why Saliba wasn't being put into the squad to help with the ongoing problems at the back but maybe Mikel didn't want Saliba to be apart of the problem and shatter his confidence. 

Arsenal fans are all looking forward to next season and seeing what Saliba can bring to the squad and make a big contribution. 

VAVEL Logo