According to Fabrizio Romano, in his Here We Go podcast, Arsenal are keen on sending William Saliba on loan. The centre-back was courted by AC Milan in the summer transfer window, but the Serie A giants were rebuffed by the Gunners, who do see him as a long-term prospect at the club. Saliba, however, still faces an uncertain future at the club as his struggles regarding lack of game-time continue.
William Saliba’s Problems At Arsenal This Summer
William Saliba has been a victim of Arsenal’s incredible depth in central defence this season, with manager Mikel Arteta having at least seven options at the heart of the backline. It has translated into a lack of game-time for the defender.
In fact, the Frenchman is yet to make his professional Arsenal debut, falling behind the likes of Kieran Tierney, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding, David Luiz and Gabriel Magalhaes in the pecking order. He is expected to lose importance in the first-team once Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers return to full fitness.
While Arteta is typically not afraid to offer opportunities to youngsters at the highest level of football, it is fair to point out that Saliba was signed by previous manager Unai Emery. It raises questions whether or not the youngster ideally fits into the current tactical philosophy at Arsenal.
What Should Be Arteta’s Play Here?
As we near the start of the January transfer window, a host of changes are expected in the Arsenal side, particularly when it comes to getting rid of fringe players.
Sokratis and Sead Kolasinac, both centre-backs options for Arteta, look destined to leave the club while Mustafi is also facing an uncertain future at the club. The potential departures of these players could serve as a boost for Saliba.
At the same time, however, it’s unlikely that the Frenchman will get the nod ahead of Holding or Gabriel, as far as the first-team is concerned.
At this point in his career, it’s imperative that he gets regular game-time, so the ideal option for him would be to return to Ligue 1 either on loan or a permanent deal. It makes sense for Arsenal as well if they do see him as a key prospect for the future.
Saliba has already shown what he can do in the French top flight and spending half a season back in France, or maybe even a new adventure in Italy or Germany could only improve him as a player, ultimately giving him a better opportunity to make a breakthrough in the Arsenal team next season.