Seven games in the space of a month appear to have done William Saliba’s confidence a world of good.
Playing regular football for new club Nice, he’s earned praise for his performances in the heart of the defence and seems far more content with life after a stressful seven months at Arsenal.
If he keeps things up, he’ll be well-placed to challenge for a first team spot at the Emirates next season. That’s if he doesn’t burn all his bridges with Mikel Arteta beforehand.
A third interview with the French media in as many weeks raises a few eyebrows, especially given the barbed nature of some of his comments.
“It is clear that so much has changed in the last year,” the 19-year-old told RMC’s ‘Top of the Foot’ programme.
“When I saw that the coach changed a lot changed for me too. In this year there has been a lot of change. He [Arteta] 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.”
While Saliba carries the sympathies of the majority of Gunners fans who recognise he was treated carelessly by the club, he’d probably do well to keep his head down and focus on playing rather than talking.
As things stand it feels like he’s driving a wedge between himself and the club/coach and that’s not going to stand him in good stead if he wants a shot at the Emirates.
Hopefully, this is just youthful naivety rather than a strategic move but we’ll see how things play out in the coming weeks and months.