Saint-Etienne boss Claude Puel has criticised Arsenal for their handling of William Saliba this summer, calling it ‘short-term thinking’ by the Gunners.
Saliba has returned to north London this summer from France but has yet to appear in the Premier League and was also left out of the Europa League squad by Mikel Arteta.
A move back to Saint-Etienne could have happened, but Arsenal decided to keep their man, while they also decided against sending him on loan to the Championship until at least January.
And Puel, speaking to L’Equipe, has slammed the decision on Saliba.
“It was short-term [thinking], even for a young player. A superb player like William, to whom I wish the best, has not even made it to Arsenal’s Europa League squad. Where is the logic, if not financial?
“He had a great desire to join us. The club are a bit like family and friends [to him]. His adaptation would have been instant. This would have happened if all the conditions had met. It had to remain consistent with our finances and his contract, particularly for the management.”
Arsenal boss Arteta has spoken of his disappointment in Saliba’s loan spell last season, admitting he didn’t get all he wanted from the youngster due to a wealth of outside factors, including Covid.
Arteta is keen to develop Saliba himself using training methods and in-house coaching. A January loan move could still happen, depending on where things stand come the winter window.
A shame for Saliba but we will see if Arteta is right – TBR View
The Arsenal boss isn’t holding Saliba back per se, but there’s definitely a feeling of ‘what’s the point’ here.
Saliba back at Saint-Etienne would have made sense. He’d have played, developed, and learnt under a manager with vast experience and knowledge like Puel.
Time will tell how this pans out but you’d imagine the teenage defender isn’t best pleased at this very moment in time.