Saturday, June 22, 2024

Report: Saliba set for Nice loan

According to French publication Nice Matin, William Saliba is on the verge of joining Ligue 1 side Nice on loan for the rest of the season.

The France under-21 international returns to France having endured a very difficult six months in London.

On loan at former club Saint-Etienne, Saliba was recalled by the Gunners at the expense of an appearance in the French Cup final back in July. Handed Mohamed Elneny’s number 4 shirt, it looked as though the 19-year-old was being primed for a breakthrough year in the Premier League but after assessment by Mikel Arteta he was excluded from squads for both domestic and European competition.

To make matters worse, a second loan move to Saint-Etienne collapsed in the dying hours of October’s transfer deadline day because the paperwork wasn’t completed in time. As a consequence, Saliba has been stuck in a state of limbo, training with the club’s first team but playing for the under-23s.

Mikel Arteta said the situation had made him ‘fed up’ and for some time we’ve known that Saliba was going to move in January.

Nice, who recently sacked Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, have been on the lookout for a defender since veteran captain Dante suffered a season-ending ACL injury. It’s understood the player will undergo a medical today. There is no option for the French club to buy the player at the end of the season.

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I’m curious as to why Arteta doesn’t seem to rate him.
Or is he simply not ready for Arsenal in any way shape or form? Ligue 1 isn’t an awful league, so why not play him in cup games?
Mental issues are a possibility as well I suppose.
I wish him well and hope to see him in the future!

Old but Gold

Don’t you think if he was good enough, he would be added to the playing squad in January? If he is going on loan, it must tell you something…..


Well, he’s barely played senior football for a year. That might have something to do with it.

To state the obvious, our playing squad includes a certain 35 million defender who has spent the last four years demonstrating that he wasn’t good enough, yet he was registered.


We signed him with the belief that he has got all it takes talent-wise except for the on-field experience. So we sign him, loan him and he is injured for most of the year with St. Etienne and then COVID strikes and the French league is called off. He comes back to Arsenal and we evaluate him, our team continues to believe that he needs a year of experience before we can play him and we decide to move him on in October before St. Etienne fuck it all up and we are at a cross-roads because we have not… Read more »


Thank you, Aaron. FFS, people have made way too big a deal out of Saliba’s exclusion. Like a teenager from France was gonna come over to the EPL – for this dumpster fire of a team – and be their salvation. Arteta and his team know a hell of a lot more than any of us do about the team and the game, and they see Saliba every day. If he was left out of the squad, it was because he isn’t ready. CB is like the most difficult position to succeed at at a real young age. Fans and… Read more »


Not sure about that as Leicester are playing Fofana who is from the same club, played less games and wasn’t isn’t seen as being nearly as talented Saliba is. He’s also only 3 months older. To have Saliba not even in squads seems suspicious regardless of age and new country. He’s not even been given a chance some of the other players who are younger or that we are trying to move on.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Nice want to make him their main defender this year because they saw him play for Saint-Etienne for a year and Arteta did not. We know where Arteta’s thinking that these guys are only kids (ESR, Matinelli) took us before he was forced to change by underperforming senior players.


Really well written comment. Cheers :). .


Not sure I agree with “big fucking deal”, he is talking about being “locked up”. He’s hardly enamoured with Arsenal is he. We have made a bollocks of his situation. Half a season of his development squashed and little done about building a relationship with his club. We have to go a long way to save his potential and playing future with Arsenal. Hopefully, this helps, but once again he is going to play for a club in France, where he speaks the language and is adjusted to the culture. So at the end of year 2 on his Arsenal… Read more »


For the record. The deciscion to leave him out of the Europa league squad was taken after his loan deal fell through on deadline day. Saliba struggled with injuries the season we loaned him back to St Etienne, but still managed 17 first team appearances. Almost all of them in the starting lineup. When ligue 1 was shut down in March he had been healthy and playing reguarly for some time. St. Etienne desperately wanted him to play for them in the cup final against PSG, including Mbappe, Neymar and Di Maria, right before he joined Arsenal.


Spot on, can’t understand how this his loan breakdown has managed to be used as an excuse for him not making the Europa Squad when the decision occurs after transfer deadline day so new players can be included. International transfer deadline was Oct 05, 2020. European Squad List submissions was Oct 06, 2020. We chose to pick Mustafi and a crocked Mari over Saliba. Mind boggling. But hey, big fucking deal apparently.


The question is why are we playing Mustafi in said meaningless Europa League games and not Saliba? We were entering a season thinking it was going to be a rebuild year. In a rebuild, you play your prospects over your has-beens. If Saliba were good enough to be a well-regarded starter for one of the better French teams, he CAN’T be so far below the level of a Premier League back-up that he’s not even registered. Gabriel came from the same league and look at him. It’s not like we’d have no other center backs if Saliba were not good… Read more »


On top of that both of his parents died in 2020, he is 19 and he doesn’t speak much English. His dream move to Arsenal must have been completely ruined with emotional trauma and has probably been correctly shielded by Arteta. The poor lad has probably had an absolutely awful time of it recently and I wish him the best of luck.


Good point. I had hoped that this waste of scarce resources would have ended by now but this farce and the signing of Willian I think, suggests otherwise.

If we had loads of dosh then at least it would be too troubling financially but we don’t. It’s very unprofessional and not how Arsenal used to do things (the good old days, I know, but true nevertheless) when we were considered to be somewhat of a “gold standard” in such matters.


*wouldn’t be too troubling…


We have to accept the coaching team assessment and judgement whether we agree with it or not. Maybe they think he’s good enough but not ready, and won’t get the minutes he needs for his development at Arsenal


It tells me that our recruitment in this case was seriously messed up. This case as well as that of Pepe should have led to an overhaul of our recruitment system

Santa’s Thigh Grab

I would love a further explanation from the club on our new recruitment strategy, it can’t be just watching videos hours on end, you actually have to go and see players play, talk to them in person, take stock of their mentality and emotional maturity. If we got rid of all of the scouts, how are we identifying young talent at 10 years old? That’s when ESR signed for the club. I don’t trust KSE, so I’d like to hear how this new approach is truly modernizing our recruiting and not just a typical corporate slash and burn operation to… Read more »


It’s really hard to tell as until a week ago when injuries & almost desperation led to us playing ESR & Martinelli, Arteta has largely been pretty reluctant to play young players if there is a senior option available. Gabriel has been a stud but only got his chance as he was one of the only fit CB’s at the time. Saka had already broken through under Emery.

I understand the desire for experience but I also find it disappointing Saliba hasn’t been given an opportunity looking at how the lad at Leicester has settled.


Fatsgooner mentioned the same thing the other day and I agree.

The Youth opportunities have fallen into his lap and possibly saved his tenure. Now he needs to recognise that and stick with it. That is the true test of Mikel. Will he stick with ESR, Martinelli with Willain back? Will he stick with Xhaka when Partey returns?


Yea, it tells me Arteta’s man management skills really sucks.


This comes with experience. It is the thing that was always going to be hardest for him and many people said that at the time when employing a first time manager. He was always going to make mistakes and he definitely has (using Douzi as the fall guy, defending Willian’s off field mistakes, Willian’s piss poor play and being selected no matter what, Saliba, ESR and Willock being made to wait despite excellent Europa play – even in limited minutes for the former – despite the piss poor league form). He’s learning. I think Arteta is going to be a… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

He was picked by another manager. Arteta does seem to want too many players picked by another manager. That’s all it is.


MA continues to play willian who, clearly, isn’t good enough.


He seems to be in the sokratis mould, and arteta likes his defender to be good on the ball. If that’s the case, i dont think 6 months is going to change saliba’s playing style.

Crash Fistfight

To me, the passing side of his game looks to be one of the better aspects. It’s difficult to see how good of a defender he is in a friendly against MK Dons, but he didn’t look bad. They see more of him than we do, but from the clips, etc. he looks to have everything required to be at least half-decent.


The part that made me me the curious is that he needed a transition year as he cane from Ligue 1, but yet Gabriel is thrust straight in.

Something he saw in training that we dun see?

Jonathan Murrin

Gabriel is older and physically mature.

Man Manny

I don’t think the assertion that Arteta does not rate him reflects what is going on.. Firstly, that there is no option to buy for Nice tells me his immediate future belongs here in Arsenal. Arteta was quoted as saying he is getting better and fitter as the days went…and regretted not adding him to the EL squad. All Arteta has said is that he needed that breakthrough year injury deprived him of last season. Besides, Arsenal is not really under pressure at the CB position.. We have Holding, Luis, Chambers, Gabriel and Pablo. I don’t think there is any… Read more »

Var Will Solve The Problem

Strangest Arsenal transfer of all time! Park Choo Young doesnt even come close! At least he played few games before AW decided he wasn’t good enough. This has become a saga without the player even kicking a ball for us …smh!

John C

Ah yes, those were the days when our manager could sign players for high fees, ageing fellow countrymen, players from former clubs, hardly play them, all without any suggestion of impropriety.

Squillachi, Chamakh, Debuchy, Sanogo, Park Choo Young, Lucas Perez, Andre Santos to name but a few, all signed in absolute good faith despite never being more than journeyman pros.

If any of those players where signed today by either Edu, or Raul before him, everything about those transfers would be analysed in forensic detail!

Heavenly Chapecoense

You selectively omitted Kos, Giroud, Adebayor who scored one goal the season before he came and had a high 30 goals for us and even Henry who was failing at Juventus when Arsene brought him.

John C

Thank you for proving my point!


And for that matter, Pal Lyderson!

A Different George

Debuchy wasn’t a journeyman pro unless you think that qualifies you as first choice for France. Injuries were the problem. He’s still playing well in France.

John C

You miss my point.

Debuchy had a profile no better than Cedric Soares when they were signed and they were both 28, however one cost £15m from a mid-table club and the other was free from a mid-table club.

DB10s Air Miles

That was before the whole world became morons on social media though.
Arsene and his team spotted a lot of cheap and under the radar talent that most teams were very envious of. Funny how everyone omits the the hits in favour of the inexpensive misses.

John C

That’s not my point. Had either Raul or Edu signed any of those players the integrity of the purchases would have been in serious question and a forensic investigation would be conducted by all and sundry of the Arsenal blogosphere. If anyone wants to know why we’re in our current predicament one only has to conduct a review of the sheer quantity of crap players we wasted vast amounts of the clubs resources on for the past decade or so. If anything the signings of the likes of Willian and Soares are completely understandable considering our current finances. Squillaci on… Read more »

DB10s airmiles

I get what you’re saying but as we all know with this club, there is a big difference between what money the club has and what money the club makes available. More recently we have spent a lot of money on very average players.

John C

That comment doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny. The club’s transfer and wage budgets are comparable to every top club, Arsenal has not suffered because of a lack of either. The problem we have today is because when we had a clear financial advantage over most of our rivals, between the years of around 2008-2013, we pissed money away on players of the caliber i listed above when we could clearly afford considerably better. The running of the club in the past decade or so is a morality tale in hubris, an organisation that thought is was too big to… Read more »


Worth mentioning that he’s lost both his parents recently, that’s almost certainly a factor.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Plus he was deprieved of what he likes most doing. The feeling that you were one of the most important player for your previous team and do not even count for the new team can destroy anybody’s confidence.


Our recruitment team didn’t predict Covid, his lengthy injury, the French league shutting down, the death of his mum or the maladministration that scuppered his loan back to St etienne, does that make them incompetent??


For me, this is proof positive of failure to manage by Arterta. How do you conclude someone cannot perform when yoy have never tested them. But then all managers have blindspots


Nice move for him then…sorry (not sorry)

Dave Cee

Would have preferred he stayed in England but first priority is that he is playing. Hope he does well


Yeah, I think I would even prefer a Championship club, allowing him to get used to the language, the country and the physicality.




Damn you, beat me to it!

Bossman Bill

Lol very good. The magic is always in the comments.


I suppose we could do a borat style ‘very niiice’ to keep it interesting


We’re such eejits, everybody rates him and from the reports he looks out of place in u23 matches just a class above.

How positive were we when he signed, now he must think that he made a huge mistake joining us. Remember, he was one of the best talents in the world and he chose emery’s team. Fuuu*k.


Just to clarify, I’d like him to start in the first team and can’t believe we are not using him, if that was not clear from my post.


Can someone confirm the U23 reports bit? Haven’t followed the action there in a while


Jeorgebird would be the right person and even he would mention Saliba is clearly above the U23 level.


Jeorge Bird is the one with the reports, while I remember one arsecast guest also saying he watched him for u23 and you can just see he’s way above that level. Can’t remember who was it. Think also Phillipe Auclair who knows about the French league talked about him in glowing terms but that’s from his time there.

A Different George

James watched him a lot in St Etienne for The Athletic. He has had a generally positive assessment.


By the time he settles with us…he will be having one year left on the contract. Next year we will need to make a call between Saliba, Chambers, Mavropanos.

Still irks why has this kid not been given even a chance in the league or cup games, when quality is there and we entertain the likes of Mustafi to showcase their disaster class and cost us points.

The kid could have been slowly nurtured while being in the squad not a Nice situation.


Got a feeling we won’t be seeing him again


Me too. Could’ve been our Varane.


How much Wenger wanted Varane. He was so frustrated that he missed out on him.


what has been going on with our recruitment. Baffling!

Public Elneny

Recruitment wasn’t the problem here, he’s a brilliant talent. Mis-man-management is


Recruitment is an issue but I reckon this one goes behind the scenes further even from the training pitch. Runarsson, or mustafi who’s only got a year left is looked in, but not Saliba? Not even for pointless cup games as well. Fishy


Whenever you don’t understand any of our signing, think of Raul! Pepe, Saliba, Willian, Soares, Luiz.. all his work mate!


Watched Fofona against Newcastle yesterday and could not help but wonder why Saliba wasn’t getting any chances with us — even in, say, just cup competitions.

Well, hope he does well and comes back to kill it for us from next season.


Saliba was even seen as better talent than him apparently. Baffling.


The curious case of W Saliba. We have so many awkward transfer stories like this one. Is this the same with many clubs or is this a Arsenal speciality??

A Different George

Liverpool: Suarez, Sterling, Van Dijk, all endless sagas, come to mind. Perhaps you may have heard of Paul Pogba? Or Mahrez (that was a saga both outgoing and incoming)?


Just part of Arteta’s process to acclimatise Saliba to the PL. /s


Hope he absolutely smashes it there, and gives Arteta no choice but to consider him next season


It’s not like he’d done poorly in that competition before Arteta decided he wasn’t good enough.

Whatever Arteta’s issues with the kid are, they have nothing to do with his past performances.

DB10s Air Miles

Maybe it’s more to do with his mental health than ability. Maybe a combination of family bereavement, adjusting to a new country/language and disappointment of his last loan move back to France falling through have had a negative effect on him as opposed to him simply not being good enough?


The issue with this line of reasoning is that this is very much the opposite of what you want to do when someone is going through a difficult time mentally. We’ve announced to the world that he isn’t good enough to play for us, taken away a thing he probably likes to do (playing football), isolated him from his teammates (relatively speaking) and rather than slowly ease him in by playing low-stakes Europa League fixtures, we’re throwing him in the deep end by loaning him to be a starter and expecting him to excel in a competition where everyone is… Read more »

DB10s airmiles

I’m not saying that it couldn’t have been handled better but I do understand him being kept out of the firing line to a certain extent. The loan move is good although I agree it would’ve been better at the start of the season or with a few europa games under his belt.


Whilst I understand everyone is keen to see the the lad play (myself included), and it feels really harsh in the way it has been handled, I do think we need a little perspective. Most of us has never seen him play, or if we have it is only the odd game or highlights reel, yet all I see is how he should be starting every week. If he was the best CB we had he would be playing. He’s only 19. It’s pretty rare for a 19 year old CB to be playing in the prem, especially at a… Read more »


Those who saw Saliba play – besides Arteta – say he is good enough. It’s enough to make you think what reason is not football related. And don’t say it’s his mum again. He wasn’t affected in other non first team games.


Doesn’t mattet how old you are, if you’re good enough. I remember Reece Oxford doing great for West Ham at 16 for a premier League match, also John Stones, Phil Jones at 18.

No justification there, if mustafi can stink the place up after so many years, no reason Saliba would do worse. Surely he’d need a few matches to acclimatize, but we’d have him developed then.

Now our top drawer young CB star in the making, who we paid 28m for, is in no man’s land.


The fact that he’s not even been given the chance to sit on the bench raises alarm bells for me. It’s clearly nothing to do with ability and it seems like completely cutting him out actually puts him more in the spotlight than having him in and around the squad, so i don’t believe this is about protecting him. The only logical explanation for me is that there has indeed been a falling out with Arteta or for some reason there are question marks over attitude. It could be spectularly bad man management, but it seems too similar to the… Read more »


Another baffling move in this idiotic saga.

He’d played in France for two years (one as our player, remember?) and it was generally agreed that he’d been pretty good.

The issues keeping him from playing were reported to be ones of acclimatization to the country and the league – so why send him back to France?

Strange sideways move, there’s gotta be something going on behind the scenes, because none of this makes sense.

Between Saliba, Guendouzi, Nelson, and Maitland-Niles, the way Arteta has been treating our prospects has been criminal.


I would include esr and willock into the mix without looking at the injury records, tho I’m sure they weren’t out for so long. Arteta doesn’t seem to trust youth too much with what we can observe in this sort period


Great! Now we can give playing time to Mustafi and Sokrates

Paul Roberts

Well this just takes the biscuit!


Yes, it’s crackers!


Mismanagement from Arteta and staggeringly poor administration from Edu.

I beginning to think that all these two are missing are a couple of bowler hats.

Public Elneny

Poor guy, it might be difficult to integrate him into the first team if Arteta and Edu are still here when he returns He’s got completely valid reasons to hate them unfortunately. From blocking his cup final appearance with ASSE, only to dump him straight into the U-23s, to butchering his proposed loan deal in the Summer. They’ve thrown one of the most important years of his development down the toilet through incompetency and what seems like spite Arteta will have to extend a very large olive branch when he gets back, but I’m not sure he’s the type to… Read more »


We can speculate on this one till the cows come home, whether he wasn’t ready physically or mentally or had poor attitude etc. End of the day I blame Arteta & Co for this one as he hasn’t even been given an opportunity to showcase whether he is indeed ready or not. I know its all leaning but come on this is some serious amateur level handling of a very highly rated prospect who let’s face probably can’t wait to see the back of Arsenal Football Club. Just a reminder there’s still lots to fix/restructure at this club.


I just don’t understand this. Why did we pay soo much for an outstanding talent only to let him play outside the English system for 2 years with no opportunity for him to acclimatise? Either we have wasted millions on a player who is never going to be good enough or we have mismanaged a terrific youth talent. Either way, it’s probably the most disturbing case amongst a whole host of questionable transfer and management issues. I feel really sorry for Saliba!


Why would you send him back to Ligue 1 when at the start, he need a transcision year from that very league.

Would his fate and opportunities been any different if he had KIA as an agent?

Cultured Determination

Doesnt make sense. Cos his defensive partner is playing pretty well in leicester, and saliba’s supposed to be better than him.

I dont believe he can be worse than mustafi or last season’s error prone luiz, or kolasinac if we are playing tierney with saka as back up LB.

Something must have happened. Pissed off for not being allowed to play in the cup final maybe. Arteta not knowing how to manage the situation through cos saliba is not one of the undroppables like willian/ xhaka.

Red Arrow

How did we spend so much on a player who is not even good enough to be in the squad?


We’ve a fairly long, sad, record of similar transfers, unfortunately.

Red Arrow

That’s very true. It’s amazing that we don’t have a process in place to identify not just talented players, but those who have a high work ethic and are team players. Not many of our purchases over the past decade possess ALL these qualities.


This complete balls-up and an embarrassment to Arsenal Football Club has been brought exclusively to you by Arteta/Edu Productions.

Stay tuned folks for more Mismanagement Mayhem.

Cultured Determination

thought he was signed by raul the snake?

DB10s Air Miles

Just to be clear, are you repeatedly saying that you don’t rate Arteta? It’s difficult to tell sometimes…..


And you clearly have a problem with my rating of Arteta.



I don’t blame Arsenal for the Saliba situation. There are intangibles we don’t have access to.


Surely we don’t know one way or another. It could be as you say, on the other hand it equally could be down to the club. Ruling one out doesn’t make the other correct if the information isn’t “out there”.


One of the stranger situations to develop in the last few seasons at the club, and that’s saying something


This really has turned into a farce – and an embarrassment for the club. With money so tight now how can we have dithered so long about what to do with a player who cost a reported £27 million? It’s crazy. The way things are going with him I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he didn’t leave on a permanent transfer at some time in the fairly near future. I certainly wouldn’t blame him if he did.


There’s a fuck up somewhere here and I can’t work out where it is. It seems to me to be a squad/inclusion issue (good enough, but not able to incorporate into the team, and not having a plan to do so), a man management issue (pissing around with a player by refusing to let him play in the cup final, not loaning him out or including him in a squad that is playing Dundalk), or a commercial issue (paying £28m for a player who hasn’t been good enough for 2/5 years of his contract, who probably has lot around half… Read more »


handled poory by Arteta. He shouldve been sent out for loan earlier if he didnt meet Arteta’s “standards”

Guns Up

He tried. Despite his expanded role (from coach to manager), Arteta isn’t responsible for filing fucking paperwork.



The paperwork wasn’t filed on time because Arteta had been dithering for too long.

The difference between a head coach and a manager is that a manager is responsible for other aspects of the club – including the fucking paperwork.

DB10s Air Miles

You seem to have enormous amount of access to high level inside information, are you Edu in disguise…. are you Edu in disguise?


why not loan him to an epl or lower division english club?


English third or fourth tier must surely be the right place for a player who not long ago was trusted to stop Neymar. At least it is better than loaning him out to the league which only had two champions league semi finalists last year.


Somehow I just don’t envisage him coming back to the club after how he has been treated.

The video he did on the official website with Lacazette was revealing. Saliba commented he could not be considered an Arsenal player because he hadn’t played for the club and Lacazette had to change an answer.


This is beyond me. Cant he just play in the Europa League?


I’m not sure the player or Arteta would be satisfied with so few appearances. Also the easy matches are gone now.

Jeanette KLIGER

Question: Do we want a vindictive, incompetent bully as our manager?
Answer: Definitely not!

DB10s Air Miles

Question: How do you know Arteta is vindictive, incompetent and a bully?
I’m genuinely interested to know how so many commentators on here have so much exclusive access to information on the intricacies of contracts, player/manager relationships and the qualities of players they’ve either seen play very little or not at all? I feel so out of the loop.


I understand that he lost both of his parents in the past year which has (understandably) had an impact on his mental wellbeing. Hopefully a 6 month period of rehabilitation in France will do him the world of good. I think he’s a real talent and look forward to seeing him and Gabriel play together in the PL.

Guns Up

Situation is being blown way out of proportion by some of the usual blowhards of these comment sections. Not sure what the rush is on a 19 yr old CB, and the future of this position feels as solid as it has in a LONG time, to me. Would be very comfortable with Holding, Gabriel, Mari, Saliba and Chambers going into next season.

Walter White

That’s Nice

David Hillier's luggage

We spent nearly £140m on Pepe, Saliba, Tierney, Luiz and Martinelli in the summer of 2019. I’m going to lie to myself and pretend we spent £70m each on two superstars in Tierney and Martinelli than think about the £108m write off which unfortunately feels destined to become of the other three ☹️. (For the record, I still think and hope Pepe & Saliba can be successful here, it just feels increasingly unlikely)


The amount of money we’ve spent on transfers for players like Saliba, Pepe and even Mustafi (not to mention the salary we’ve been paying Ozil) is ridiculous. We’ve had some great contributions from youth players and some signings like Leno, Aubameyang, Tierney, etc., but too many seem to have been just money thrown down the drain.

Josh Harding

I hope he has a Nice time

Merlin’s Panini

Hopefully this will do him good. Regular first team playing time and experience is what he needs. I hope he makes the progress he seemed destined to make before.

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