Arsenal FC

William Saliba slams Mikel Arteta for lack of chances at Arsenal

Tom Gott
Feb 9, 2021, 9:15 AM GMT
William Saliba was unimpressed with his situation at Arsenal
William Saliba was unimpressed with his situation at Arsenal | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images
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Arsenal centre back William Saliba has criticised Mikel Arteta for not giving him enough time to prove himself at the Emirates Stadium this season.

A £27m arrival from Saint-Etienne, Saliba did not play a single minute for the Gunners this season and was eventually shipped out on loan to French side Nice in January, winning the club's Player of the Month award the same month.

Saliba is shining with Nice
Saliba is shining with Nice | CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/Getty Images

It was a confusing situation, particularly with Arsenal struggling defensively for a large part of the first six months of the season, and Saliba has confessed he was unimpressed with the way Arteta handled the whole thing.

“It is clear that so much has changed in the last year," he told RMC Sport's Top of the Foot. "When I saw that the coach changed a lot changed for me too. In this year there has been a lot of change in my personal life as well.

“He judged me on two-and-a-half matches. I would have liked for him to play me more. But he told me I wasn’t ready. I was waiting for him to give me a chance, but football is like that. When I initially came to Arsenal the league looked very good so I showed up to training and wanted to train on my own to show the coach I was ready.

“I am happy now, I want to play for Nice. The idea when you’re part of a team is a better feeling for me.”

Saliba hasn't exactly shied away from the chance to bash Arsenal since returning to France, recently telling L'Equipe (via GFFN) that he was surprised to have been given up on so quickly.

"There were a lot of factors I think because when they were finishing their league season, I was in quarantine at home, where I could only run 1km in my house," he explained. "And then there was this thing about the [Coupe de France] final, we didn’t know if I was going to be able to play or not.

"What I mean is as soon as my contract finished (with Saint-Etienne), I wasn’t able to train until an agreement was found. That was for two weeks, I wasn’t training, and the others had already started training again.

Saliba wanted more from Arteta
Saliba wanted more from Arteta | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

"After that, then I went over there at the end of July, they had one more week, so I was training all alone. They came back from holidays two weeks later and I was still training by myself. When they came back I played in two friendlies, but I wasn’t ready, I hadn’t played for six months. I had no preparation and to pick up rhythm, you need to play matches.

"The coach told me I wasn’t ready, I thought 'That’s normal, these were just two matches and I hadn’t played for six months'. After that I waited for my chance, I waited for him to play me more to get a rhythm. But that’s football, it’s like that, it’s behind me and I took the experience."

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