Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi played his first minutes of the season on Sunday when he replaced David Luiz – his performance, however, highlighted that it’s time for Mikel Arteta to blood William Saliba.
It has since emerged that Mustafi rejected the offer of a new deal during the summer and with that in mind it could be time for the boss to try something different.
His performance in the game against Leicester was pretty ordinary, with Mustafi looking out of sorts as Jamie Vardy pounced to scored the game’s only goal in the second half.
Saliba signed fro Arsenal in the summer of 2019 for £27 million but was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019/20 campaign.
He helped his former club reach the Coupe de France Final last season and some had predicted that he’d be a big player for the Gunners during the current campaign.
David Luiz has been a mainstay and new signing Gabriel Magalhaes has meant that Saliba has been forced into playing a watching brief at the start of his Arsenal career.
Mustafi earns £90,000-a-week at the Emirates Stadium and if he clearly doesn’t fancy a signing a new deal then Arteta should make him surplus to requirements and back Saliba.
Arsenal fans would probably tolerate the odd mistake from Saliba. The 19-year-old has to learn his trade somehow and after Arteta chose not to loan him out now looks like the ideal time to use him.
Saliba is strong in the tackle, reads the game well and is capable of playing the ball out from the back.
He looks like being one for the future and following the defeat to Leicester it’s time for him to start featuring in the squad ahead of Mustafi.