‘To not play in the Europa League or the league, it hurt me’: Arsenal outcast William Saliba opens up on his pain at not being given a chance at by Mikel Arteta before being loaned out to Nice
- The French defender joined Nice on loan in January until the end of the season
- William Saliba was bought by former Arsenal boss Unai Emery for £27million
- Arsenal signed Gabriel last summer, limiting Saliba’s chances at the Emirates
- Mikel Arteta is yet to give the 19-year-old his debut for the Gunners first team
Arsenal defender William Saliba has revealed he was ‘hurt’ by Mikel Arteta’s decision to overlook him this season.
The Gunners announced in the summer of 2019 that the Frenchman had signed a long-term contract with the club, and that he would join them after staying at Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season.
However, the £27million signing failed to make a single appearance for Arsenal during the first half of the campaign and was sent out on loan to Nice in the January transfer window.
William Saliba is disappointed at not being given a chance in Arsenal’s first team this season
Saliba was signed by former Arsenal manager Unai Emery, but the Frenchman has failed to convince the current Gunners boss that he is ready for the first team.
Arteta signed Gabriel from Lille last summer meaning Saliba was restricted to appearances for their Under 23s.
His time playing for the youthful Gunners side was far from successful, he only made eight appearances and was sent off in a 3-0 defeat to AFC Wimbledon in the EFL Trophy in December.
‘I really, really, really didn’t think that I would be transferred for €30m, to think that I would arrive, where people were expecting a lot from me, the fans excited about me and you find yourself in the reserves,’ Saliba told TF1.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has yet to be convinced that Saliba is ready to be part of his squad
Saliba has made four appearances for Nice since joining them on loan at the start of January
‘To play zero, zero nothing in the Europa League or the league. I was in the squad once in the league cup. It hurt me, it affected me.
‘I don’t think I left too early. When you feel ready you have to go. I don’t think I left too early. These things happen. I believe in myself.’
Saliba has made four appearances for Nice since moving back to France, however his loan deal expires at the end of the season.
The Frenchman didn’t expect to be back in Ligue 1 so soon after moving to London, but is not ruling out a permanent return to his home land.
‘I am just focused on doing the absolute most and best possible for the next 6 months. After that, we will see.’
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