Why William Saliba has not worked out at Arsenal – but third loan transfer could be best for both parties
WILLIAM SALIBA will once again be sent out on loan by Arsenal – for a third campaign in a row.
Despite what the Gunners' fanbase believes about his readiness after half a season of plaudits in Ligue 1, it is Mikel Arteta’s view that is the only opinion that is of importance, whether you as an individual believe in him or not.
Arteta and his staff will have watched Saliba, 20, to decide his attributes and strengths are still not ready for the pace and physicality of the Premier League.
A season-long loan, and a full season at a top club competing in Europe, will hopefully gain him the minutes needed to convince Arsenal.
However, it is a great shame that those minutes are not to be in the league in which we all hope he can perform for Arsenal.
It appears the player has opted for France, but I wish his parent club has stood firm and insisted on a domestic loan.
One thing I feel strongly about is that, as fans, we need to ignore the price tag.
There seems little doubt that the previous regime (not this one) overspent on Saliba, particularly when you look at other high-profile defender transfers in the summer of 2019.
It is hard, on the back of so many recent decisions that have proved costly, but we must accept it is not our money and hope it does not impact our ability to bring in new signings to help us in 2021/22.
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Even if Saliba does prove to be the generational talent many believe he might be, he is not going to be helped by being thrown into the Arsenal first-team alongside another youngster – and there are literally no 20-year-old centre-backs thriving at top clubs in our league.
His position is strenuous and physically demanding, and it requires optimum concentration.
The physical ability is not fully there at 20 and the concentration comes with experience. Saliba has literally years ahead of him.
If Arteta had backed Saliba to play a key role in the first-team this season he would have joined several other youngsters already given key roles by the Spaniard.
I don’t entirely agree with Alan Hansen, that you cannot win anything with kids, but I do believe that youth has to be blended with older heads.
Saliba might have tipped the balance too far towards exciting youth for this coming campaign.
This is why adding the likes of Ben White (we hope) alongside Gabriel adds Premier League-ready talent to an already improved defence.
Rob Holding and Pablo Mari as first reserves are both experienced and, with David Luiz leaving, that is important.
If Saliba, as we all hope, has another successful season, he and Arsenal are still in a good position in the summer of 2022.
His value having played in Europe will be high if Arsenal decide there is still no room in the squad, or he will be ready to step into the first-team setup and play for the team he supported as a boy.
Follow Dave on Twitter @GoonerDave66
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