06/10/2021; 1:42 PM By : Steven D. Thompson
There was much optimism over a certain Frenchman when Arsenal signed William Saliba in the summer of 2019. At the time, the Gunners’ backline was overly weak, and the youngster was seen as one who would come in to solve those issues.
Unfortunately, it was far from it, and the Frenchman didn’t even get a chance to show his skills. Saliba was loaned back to former side Saint-Etienne where he went on to impress as usual.
While many continued to ponder why the Gunners made such a decision, the player ended up being sent on loan a second time to Nice.
At this point, it seemed like there was something off with his contract, which even led to the player’s agent voicing out concerns about Mikel Arteta.
There was further confusion when the player was loaned again a third time, this time to Marseille. It made for worse reading that the 20-year-old was stripped of his no 4 jersey to accommodate the arrival of Ben White.
However, there may be light at the tunnel for the youngster, with reports now claiming that Mikel Arteta is ready to welcome the player into the Gunners’ first team.
After being sent out on loan on three different occasions, the player is now going to join up with the Arsenal XI for next season. In a bid to explain why Saliba had to be loaned out severally, Arteta claimed that he wanted the youngster to play ‘regular’ football week in and week out in order to be ready to challenge for a spot at Arsenal.
So far this season, that has pretty much gone according to plan, with Saliba playing every available minute of action so far for the Ligue 1 side in the league as well as on the continent.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the reliable Fabrizio Romano reported that the Gunners are pleased with the player’s progress and can now deem him fit to challenge for a spot.
Arsenal are following William Saliba's progress closely - they are really happy with the French centre back. 🇫🇷 #AFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 5, 2021
Arsenal told Saliba weeks ago that they trust him 100% for the future, he joined OM on loan to play all games as starter then he’ll be back. #Arsenal
While that will come as good news for the player and his camp, there is still a lot of work to be done to nail down ang berth.
As it stands, Gabriel Magalhães and Ben White are the preferred first-choice pairing for Mikel Arteta, having played most of the Gunners’ games this season. After the pair, the duo of Pablo Mari and Rob Holding are also up there in the pecking order. All of these means Saliba has a lot of work to do in order to impress Mikel Arteta and climb his way up the pecking order and possibly secure ang spot. In general, the Gunners’ has also strongly improved with the additions of Aaron Ramsdale and Takehiro Tomiyasu.