Thursday, September 29, 2022

Arsenal Defender Set For Shock Loan Exit: What Should Be Mikel Arteta’s Play Here?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Goal, William Saliba could be on the verge of shock Arsenal exit. The defender has emerged as a target for Rennes, with the Gunners themselves ready to offload him on a season-long loan deal. Mikel Arteta himself also thinks that a loan move away from Emirates could benefit Saliba, so a return to Ligue 1 could be on the horizon for the youngster, before tomorrow’s deadline.

Saliba’s Early Season Struggles At Arsenal

Saliba returned to Emirates in the summer with a lot of hopes and expectations. Following a promising loan spell at St. Etienne, the defender was expected to make a quick breakthrough at Arsenal.

However, almost a month into the new season, Saliba has struggled even to make the squad for Arsenal matches this season. He has fallen behind the likes of Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Magalhaes, David Luiz and Rob Holding in the pecking order.

Even Sead Kolasinac has been preferred ahead of the Frenchman in the left-sided centre-back slot, although he seems likely to leave Emirates this summer.

As for Saliba, he is yet to even make his Arsenal debut, missing out even in the Carabao Cup matches. It doesn’t bode well for his development, especially following two successful seasons in Ligue 1.

William Saliba could be on the verge of shock Arsenal exit - A return to Ligue 1 beckons?
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What Should Arsenal Do Here?

Mikel Arteta faces a delicate situation at the moment since he cannot afford to make any changes to his three-man defensive combination, where the likes of Holding, Gabriel, Tierney and Luiz have performed remarkably well.

Also, the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers are all expected to soon recover from their injuries and return to the pitch. It could further reduce Saliba’s importance in the Arsenal team.

The club’s failures to offload fringe players like Sokratis and Chambers seem to have played a key role in Arsenal being forced to make a decision on Saliba, who is evidently better off elsewhere at the moment.

At the age of 19, the young Frenchman needs consistent game-time, and he will get that at Rennes. He has a lot of experience in the French top-flight, with a return to his native country also offering him a chance to further hone his skills and emerge as one of the top defenders in the league.

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