Mikel Arteta reveals update on William Saliba's back injury
By Sean Walsh
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has provided an update on William Saliba's fitness after he suffered a back injury earlier this month.
The France centre-back had to be withdrawn in the early stages of the Gunners' Europa League last 16 second leg against Sporting CP shortly prior to the international break.
Rob Holding started in Saliba's place three days later in Arsenal's 4-1 win at home to Crystal Palace with the club hopeful that this would be a temporary solution.
But speaking to the press ahead of this weekend's clash against Leeds United, Arteta admitted Saliba has not recovered in time and remains some distance from returning to the fold.
"He is progressing, unfortunately he still has some discomfort in his back. He's not going to be fit for this game and we're trying to do everything to feel better. But not yet," the Spaniard said.
Arteta was then asked if Saliba will be able to return before the end of the season, replying: "Yeah I am very hopeful and he is as well.
"Back injuries are a bit tricky and how they evolve with the load that you put in certain areas. Let's push it and see how he copes with that. He's so willing to be back in the team."
William Saliba Arsenal future
90min understands Saliba remains in talks with Arsenal regarding a new contract with his current deal set to expire in 2024.
The Gunners remain confident an agreement isn't too far away, with their current priorities being to tie Saliba and Bukayo Saka down to long-term contracts, following on from Gabriel Martinelli's lucrative extension.
On this edition of The Chronicles of a Gooner, part of the 90min podcast network, Harry Symeou previews Arsenal's upcoming Premier League meeting with Leeds United. If you can't see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!