Ligue 1 expert shares how people in France really feel about Arsenal's treatment of Saliba
Ligue 1 expert Tom Williams spoke to Sky Sports about people’s feelings in France on Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’s treatment of William Saliba.
The Gunners, when under Unai Emery, splashed £27 million to sign Saliba from Saint-Etienne (Goal). People in France and fans at Arsenal were convinced that he would be a regular, but the young Frenchman is yet to play a competitive game in the famous red and white.
Arteta was adamant that Saliba wasn’t ready for the Premier League last season. He pushed him away from the senior side in the first half of the campaign before shipping him out on loan to Nice in January.
Saliba was due to return in the summer but Arsenal decided to loan him out again, this time to Ligue 1 giants Marseille.
Fans in France are baffled by how Saliba is being treated at Arsenal
Williams, who extensively covers French football, was asked about the feeling in Saliba’s home country about the young defender’s woes at Arsenal.
He said: “People are baffled by his lack of a chance at Arsenal given that when he left Saint-Etienne it felt like quite a natural move. Obviously, he was still young when he signed for Arsenal in 2019 but I don’t think anyone thought he wasn’t ready for it.
“The fact he didn’t get a look in at all people found it baffling, and much like Arsenal supporters, there was conjecture as to what exactly had gone wrong. Was it a personality clash with Arteta? Was he just having absolute howlers in training on a weekly basis? Did something else happen? It left a lot of people scratching their heads.
“Like a lot of Arsenal fans and a lot of people who have followed Saliba’s career, the main feeling regarding what has happened for him at Arsenal so far has been one of confusion and surprise.”
Arteta deciding that Saliba is not ready for the Premier League is understandable. The Frenchman is still only 20 and has next to no experience at the highest level.
However, the fact that the Arsenal boss didn’t even give him a chance with the first team really surprised fans. Some Gunners supporters are still furious about the fact that Saliba is yet to make his debut, over two years after he joined the club.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the youngster next summer.
Saliba has proven himself in his loan spells in France. He has been one of the best defenders in Ligue 1 this season as well. Arteta has to give him an opportunity next term. If he doesn’t, the 20-year-old might as well look elsewhere to salvage his career.
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