Monday, June 17, 2024

“I want to protect the player” – Arteta on Saliba loan move

Mikel Arteta says William Saliba was sent out on loan to get regular game time which he believes is essential for the player’s development. 

The France under-21 international drew a line under a very frustrating six months when he signed on loan for Ligue 1 side Nice on Monday and was immediately handed his first start for his new club on Wednesday as they lost 2-0 to Brest. 

Saliba, 19, had been expected to challenge for a place in Arsenal’s starting lineup when he was recalled to London from Saint-Etienne in the summer but it soon became apparent he wasn’t in the boss’ plans. 

After failing to arrange a second loan spell with his former club – paperwork for the proposed move wasn’t completed before the summer transfer deadline – the decision was taken to leave the teenager out of Arsenal’s first team squads for both the Europa League and Premier League competitions. Having paid £27 million for Saliba in 2018, it certainly raised a few eyebrows. 

Ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Newcastle United, Arteta was asked about the club’s thinking. 

“We signed a big project that we had some issues with,” he said. “He hasn’t played enough football in the last 18 months. At that age and the development phase that he’s in, that’s crucial. 

“I’ve always been very conscious that when he came back [to London] he hadn’t done the step he needed to do before joining us. 

“To start a relationship with a new manager, a new club, new teammates when he’s not having any game time, is really difficult and it’s damaging for his future. 

“I want to protect the player that we signed and the future that we have alongside him. The best way to do that is to give him minutes and play him. 

“He’s been really good. It’s been difficult months for him to cope with that situation but I see the development that he’s made, the progression that he’s shown over the months and now he’s ready to compete. 

“He’s going to a really strong league, a league he knows really well, one he’s experienced and he needs to play as many games as possible to be ready for us next season.”

There have been some suggestions that Nice have an option to extend Saliba’s loan for an additional year should they so wish, but Arteta made clear that Saliba is in his plans for next season.

“He will come back for pre-season and will be with us. Hopefully, he’ll come back having played a number of games and his performance is raising and his development progressing in the right way.

“That’s why we made that decision. I know sometimes it’s difficult to explain or understand after the money the club has spent trying to bring him in only to send him on loan, but a lot of things have happened to him.

“He’s a long-term player for us and we need to protect him. Giving him three or four games is not enough. He needs much more than that. What happened in the last 18 months, he’s been through some personal problems that we have to try to help him with and now he needs to play, play and play and to enjoy his profession as well.

“In order to do that, we found the right club with him. He’s very happy to go there right now and hopefully he can enjoy his football and be ready for us next season.”

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Fully clothed Cygan

Nice to see him play.. he’s been 19 for 2 years now


He’s been 19 since March

Lille pepe

He’s 19 until he is 20, that’s how it works.

Bo Dacious

I am glad we have a firm grip on this issue.


I am somewhat placated…putting my pitchfork down now

Jeremy DG

Fair enough

Mhizta Ralph

The best option so far, a future asset. Loaning him out is gonna birth confidence, experience and maturity. Best of luck chap!


Nice comment one

Fireman Sam

Nice comment two


His hair on the sides of the head has even turned grey quicker than Van Persie. What have we done?



Datguy Lauren

The price tag has invited a lot of pressure on his acquisition

santi's thigh grab

How long is his contract? Do we need to resign him before we play him? That would be a very Arsenal thing to do, resign the player before playing him to protect his value.


I don’t realy know what to make of Artetas man managing. At best it is confusing at worst it is damaging to AFC. He is just not consistent, not reliable and not trustworty when it comes to dealing with players. The list is long and some may have even deserved the treatment they have received but it is just that I can’t figure out any comsrquent standard in dealing with player isdues apart of Mikels liking or disliking a player. And that is dangerous, very dangerous if you are aiming at creating a team. Ozil, Guendouzy, Saliba, Balogun, Xhaka, Pepe,… Read more »


Hopefully the pre season, will not be with Arteta ( let’s get the down votes Arteta fan boys ) 😁


glad to be of service, MrT

(just downvoting for the sake of it)

Jeremy DG

Who would you suggest as a replacement?

Masimillano Allegri would be my ideal replacement if Arteta walks the plank. I wanted him when Emery was sacked


Ralp Hasenhuttl No1 candidate for me.. Top manager!!!

Crash Fistfight

We were rumoured to have been talking to him before Arsene left, yet supposedly didn’t speak to him when it came to either appointment subsequent to that. Why? He didn’t even have a club, initially.


“Hopefully the pre season, will not be with Arteta”

You’re STILL bitter about the time he lured you into a crate and then fork-lifted you into a plane for a mission to save some nuns from a crocodile owning drug dealer in Cuba??

Get over yourself fool, hilarity ensued for the rest of us.

Dundun derr dundundun derder, dundundundun dun dun, dunder der der der der…


Dont forget your comment… Come end of season ‘ Fezec ‘… 😉 Let’s see who is the fool than… Arteta Fan boy X


Don’t forget that Rocky Balboa knocked you the fuck out.

Crash Fistfight

I think Fezec’s post above was more of a reference to the A-Team than actually calling you a fool.

Callum McAlindon

Don’t need to be an Arteta fan boy to vote down your ignorant comment. Just an intelligent, rational fan of the Arsenal. You are none of those things.

santi's thigh grab

Arteta will be at Arsenal for years. Not going anywhere.


I think that there are questions to be asked about his man management. The problem goes back (yet again) to MA’s total lack of experience, prior to this job, of actually being in charge of a professional team. Yes, he’s been the assistant to a great manager at City but, ultimately he couldn’t have made the decisions – or Pep would have been superfluous, wouldn’t he. MA is having to learn “on the job” which may, or may not, be a good thing as the jury is still out over his tenure – the recent, very welcome, run of form… Read more »


“But the bottom line is that we are where we are so let’s hope he gets things sorted…”

Exactly, and I hope it happens rather sooner than later.

santi's thigh grab

Arteta didn’t create the Saliba problem, it was Raul who paid $28m for a 18 year old with no EPL experience who wasn’t ready. The injuries, personal problems slowed his development. Edu should have sent him on loan, why is Arteta taking a beating for Edu? Isn’t it the job of the technical director to sign players, sell players and send them on loan?


I would say this is a side to him that should be interesting to watch going forward. I have a thing or two to say about how he has managed some players. I am not yet at a point where I attribute it to favouritism. For now, I am putting it down to inexperience. However, it’s a side of his job he needs to work on very quickly before a perception takes root that he has double standards.


I hope MA learns it fast. Because, players eventual failure to implement tactics on the field might not be due to tactical or technical inadequacy but rather due to perception of implementation of those standards set up by MA.

santi's thigh grab


santi's thigh grab


Bad egg

Lmao. What a ridiculous take


What has this situation got to do with man management, Arteta simply does not feel that the young man is up to the job for whatever reason.
A loan deal makes perfect sense for all involved.
Good luck to him and hopefully he can return better prepared an show us all what he can do, patience is the hardest thing for football supporters but on this occasion it’s the right thing to do.

High gooner

What an interesting user name.. whats the story behind it?

Crash Fistfight

Well, considering his loan fell through at the last minute and we had a load of other centre-backs injured at the time (plus having probably the easiest group to contend with in the EL) it might have been good for Saliba to have been added to EL squad, if for nothing else than to help Saliba feel wanted/part of the group. It can’t have been very fun for him, having to play u23 football in a new country at a time when he wasn’t able to do much outside of football. Especially in his circumstances. A bit of emotional intelligence… Read more »

santi's thigh grab

Yeah, can’t disagree with this take, no reason not to play him in the cups, it was the perfect solution IMO. This was Arteta’s mistake. Arsene was too kind to some players, Arteta may be too ruthless, time will tell if he comes good and becomes a legend or flames out. As supporters, I believe we have to be more patient, evaluate things with context and don’t take absolutist positions (like XYZ is shit). Life is more complicated and people trying to dumb it down so they can feel better because they understand it in black and white is annoying… Read more »


The situations aren’t the same with each player. He’s managing them differently because they’re different people who have different types of relationships with him and whose situations are actually unique to each of them. From outside maybe it seems inconsistent, but it’s perfectly possible he’s done it absolutely spot on. It’s not like anything has backfired yet, is it? He’s got rid of who he didn’t like who undermined or failed to buy into his project. He’s encouraged with carrot and stick players who’ve transgressed differently. He retains the dressing room and he’s just managed to put a very different… Read more »

santi's thigh grab

That’s your interpretation based on the information you have available without looking at other factors that inform decision making, such as the need for squad rotation. I see the players we want to keep at the squad all fully behind the manager KT, Partey, Holding, Gaby, Saka, Martinelli, Auba and ESR . Then there is another group that backs the manager and want to play for AFC but they might not be good enough or we need to sell to recapture value: Eddie, Laca, Nelson, Willock, Pepe and Balogun. Most of the players you listed I want out of the… Read more »


“That’s why we made that decision. I know sometimes it’s difficult to explain or understand after the money the club has spent trying to bring him in only to send him on loan, but a lot of things have happened to him.” Surely refering to the loss of his mother here. Always said we don’t know anything about how he’s doing mentally after that and that everything that has happened probably happened for good reasons. But it was of course much easier to act like we’ve been completely incompetent and have risked the player’s career when we did the exact… Read more »


Its not about game time last season. After lockdown he played 10 games in a row (would have been 11 if we alowed him to play French cup final). Yes, he had some injuries last season but he came to Arsenal in good physical rhythm. He had personal issues that afected him that is for sure and it might be the best option for both parties that he remained in St.Ettien for one more year. But , we messed it up.


May have been the best option to take him out of the firing line and give him half a season off and we did the exact right thing here to protect the mental health of a young player who could get used to life in London without having been under immense pressure to justify a 30 mio price tag. But surely you know better about his mental state of mind and what would have been best for him than Arteta who has spoken a lot with him over that time and knows all the details.


It might have been the best option sure, but it wasn’t a plan. They tried to loan him out late in the window and did not complete paperwork in time. It was frustrating few months and Saliba declared his frustrations few times.


maybe they didn’t complete the paperwork, because they had doubts if the loan is a good move rather than out of incompetence? Maybe they didn’t know how he’s doing mentally after the loss of his mother when they first planned to loan him out?


Mate, are you Rene Descartes reincarnated?


In your vigilant defending of Arteta you might look at the latest Saliba interview and see that MA obviously has not spoken a lot to him. Actually quite oposite, the only verbal interaction they had is after the first trainig game of the season when he told him that he is not at the required physical level. That surely hasn’t helped whatever mental state he was in. There were unfortunately no other discussions that player would cettainly reffer to if he was offered any kind of explanation on the plan for his future or consolation. He is just obviously happy… Read more »


He didn’t play at all after lockdown. His last competitive appearance was for Saint-Etienne on March 8th.


Well…checked it now… Guess I messed it up this time!?

Crash Fistfight

To be fair, nobody played in France after lockdown, apart from PSG and Lyon in the CL.


Watched the Nice game and to be honest Saliba is superb at playing out from the back, but so far (I know it’s his first game there) defensively… Nothing to write home about. While there is huge potentially its obvious he’s not where he needs to be yet.

Thanks for the info

Medium Mozart

L’Equipe in the BIN…


Saw that on BeIN too


Sounds weak to me. I don’t recall MA saying this when we signed him. The whole “Saliba affair” has been handled in an unprofessional, amateurish, way by the club and it’s made us somewhat of a laughing stock.


MA wasn’t anywhere near the club when we signed him.


Don’t confuse him with facts, mate.

Philip Visser

All fair and we’ll – except over at Leicester Fofana is playing every game, same age, his friend and former co-defender, making a big impact. Somehow he didn’t need all the settling in. What’s the difference? Surely the 2 talked and must draw comparisons betwee his and Fofana situations


fofana wasnt injured for a year and miss a massive chunk of 2 season


Let’s hope the mess with his loan in September didn’t put Saliba off a return to Arsenal.

Good luck with Nice and hope to see you soon.

Me from Here

Saliba is a top prospect but he might not be ready yet. They said he dives into tackles and the speed of EPL is unforgiving. Throwing him into the deep end might end his career quicker than it started. Knowing Eglish press, maybe this actually protects Saliba from the high expectations and he can grow accordingly. If Arteta can somehow navigate this job and be successful, he will be a top top-class manager. Managing bloated squad, the highest-paid player that has issues with the club, team with a fragile mentality, ownership, contract issues, covid year, troubled backroom among other issues… Read more »

santi's thigh grab

My view as well, thanks for adding the context.


Whatever way you try to explain this away. There is something strange here. Saliba was a regular in a ligue 1 side and was considered a big talent. Arsenal payed a large sum for him but did not think him fit to play against teams from the Norwegian, Austrian and even Irish leagues. He spends several months in London without playing senior football and is frustrated. Then he goes on loan back to France on and is used in the starting lineup in league 1 straight away. Arsenal should have completed his loan to St Etienne in august. And whwn… Read more »

santi's thigh grab

Yes, he should have been registered for the cups, AFC owns that mistake, but he’s still not PL ready. If you watched any of his games at the U23 level, you can tell he’s not ready for the EPL. Hope he has a good loan and comes back ready to compete for his position.


Arteta could have played him more? The six European games.

For what it’s worth, I watched him play against Brest the other day and thought he looked a little stiff and rusty.

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