Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has suggested he regrets leaving William Saliba out of his Europa League squad, with the Gunners now in the midst of a defensive crisis.
Arsenal have eight centre-halves on their books but have just two available for tonight’s clash with Dundalk.
David Luiz limped out against Leicester City on Sunday, while Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari are all in recovery from injury. Sokratis has been left out of the Europa League squad.
Speaking about £27 million recruit Saliba (BBC Sport), Arteta expressed his regret at not including him.
He said: “I feel really bad for William Saliba. Because we had so many central defenders, we decided to leave him out of the squad which was really hurtful for me to do.
Promising Saliba is yet to feature for Arsenal’s first-team in a competitive setting, seemingly struggling with the transition after leaving Saint-Etienne.
On where he’s at in terms of playing for the first-team, Arteta added: “Yes, he’s in a much better place.
“He’s feeling a lot more confident around the place, his language is improving and he’s starting to understand much better what we’re doing physically.”
TBR’s View – Saliba may feature soon
Saliba has had a couple of months to acclimatise now, and it might be that he becomes more involved in the Premier League and domestic cup competitions.
That would certainly be something the fans want to see. There has been plenty of clamour from the Arsenal faithful over the Frenchman so far.
Given Arteta’s latest comments, the situation seems more positive for Saliba despite not being available for Europa League games, and that debut might not be too far away.