Saliba to miss pre-season following Olympic nod

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William Saliba’s chances of staking a claim for a place in the Arsenal first team are likely to be hindered by news of a call-up to France’s under-23 squad for the upcoming Olympic Games.

While the 20-year-old will no doubt feel honoured to get the nod for such a prestigious event, it looks as though he’ll end up missing the majority of pre-season as Arsenal play six friendlies in four weeks as well as undertaking training camps in Scotland and the USA.

The majority of Mikel Arteta’s squad is expected to report back on 7 July. Two weeks later, the Olympic football tournament starts on 21 July.

The Gunners are already facing the same situation with fellow defender Gabriel Magalhaes who is set to feature for Brazil. In the end, compatriot Gabriel Martinelli failed to make the cut when a final lineup was announced last week.

To be clear, unlike FIFA-sanctioned tournaments, Arsenal are under no obligation to release players for the Olympics. We will be allowing Gabriel and Saliba to participate out of choice.

Signed from Saint-Etienne for £27 million two years ago, Saliba is yet to make his competitive debut for the Gunners and, in light of an impending deal for Brighton’s Ben White, there are now suggestions that he could be sold or loaned out for a third time.

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Matt

Gnabry de ja vu

Bishop

For a guy who only played for half a season, and while also recognizing the depth of the french Talent pool; this call up says alot as to how well he performed during the loan spell.

Daveo

Going to be interesting seeing Mikel’s assessment during pre-season now.

David Hillier's luggage

To be fair, the squad was selected in consultation with clubs and is missing most of France’s top U21 talent. Saliba appeared to have a good half season on loan, but this is very much an experimental squad and he’s been around the France youth set up for a while, so I would’t read too much into the call up being an indicator of form.

Martin R

Except Wenger tried hard to keep him so no comparison. In any case Saliba hasn’t left yet.

matt keeler

Hopefully he as really good tournament and we can recoup our money when we sell to PSG

myrtle

Tragic

Sheldon

Is a prestigious international tournament not considered better for the development of a youngster than pre-season friendlies?

Heavenly Chapecoense

Arteta wasn’t going to give him any minutes in these friendlies anyways.

Martin R

I assume you have secret information

gus

no hes just a a crap manager who seems to have issues with certain players– hopefully no one buys saliba and we loan him out until mikel gets the sack around Christmas

onenil

Better for his overall development maybe, but not better for integrating with the Arsenal squad.

Dr. kNOw

If there are no agendas based on past events, it makes no difference.

He comes back after the Olympics and joins up with the squad for the season and is assessed then.

He fights for his place and gets judged on performances.

onenil

All players, but especially centre backs need to work with and develop playing relationships with their team mates to create an effective defensive unit.
If he comes back with no pre-season, unfamiliar with his team mates and our system of play and is thrown in, it could end badly.

Riku

Yeah he can play league cup games or loan him in January .
Btw I want to see him play alongside Mari or gab. Or in the middle of a back five

Andy

It’s not a prestigious tournament for football though

ClockEndRider

Since when has the Olympics been prestigious in terms of football?

A Different George

Well, Neymar chose to play for Brazil (as one of the allowed overage exceptions), because the fact they had never won it apparently grated. And, of course, it is a very important tournament for women’s football.

Atom

Winning an Olympic medal is still a real highlite for many players. Fans might not value the tournament but players do.

PeteyB

I saw a few days back that Liverpool decided not to release anyone for Olympics. Interesting move. Easy to see the logic from the club, but could upset a few players.

Riku

Salah wants to go tho. It will get push through

Disarmed Gunner

Another Arteta victim.

Mpls

Others leaving wanted out for non Arteta reasons (Torreira) or needed to go.

Martin R

Name me one.

Disarmed Gunner

Me. You. The entire fanbase for a start

Timorous Me

Guendouzi is a victim of his own impetuousness and immaturity, I’d say. Ozil was still posting tweets supporting Arsenal against Emery and Villareal, which tells me something about how he felt about Arteta even after how things played out. We know Torreira’s story.

I have no issue with anyone being disappointed in Arteta’s decisions, tactics, etc. But at this point it’s so strange to see so many people portraying him as some sort of cackling, maniacal villain.

allezkev

Interesting to see how positively Tierney talks of the club and the people in it.

Teta's cult of personality

I think joining the Olympic squad will do Saliba some good on a personal level. It seems the FFF have gotten over the video fiasco and he will be able to redeem himself. The Olympics might not be a premiere football tournament but it’s certainly more high-stakes than a pre-season friendly.

I’m surprised to see Badiashile is also in the Olympic squad. He was with the U21s just a few weeks ago. That’s a lot of football within a calendar year. That dude must be quite fit.

Eddy F

Any news on whether Pepe or Elneny will be picked for the Olympics by their nations as over-23 players? There was mention of it earlier on in the year but nothing since.

But looks like we’re starting the season with White, Holding and Mari as our CB’s until Gabriel returns.

Can’t see anything other than Saliba leaving the club this summer anymore (either on loan or sold).

myrtle

This whole White-Saliba thing really annoys me. People are saying how inexperienced Saliba is, and that there is no way Arteta would trust him. But White has only played 30 more top level games in his career, at 3 years older. It’s hardly a big difference is it? While Saliba actually has another season under his belt as he broke through at a younger age. Ben White doesn’t even stand out to my untrained eye. His passing is in the low 80s and Saliba is 90% plus this season. Every single one of his stats are below Saliba’s and he… Read more »

Oberon

Amen

Futsboller

What is annoying is that Saliba had a chance to work together with Arteta and to impress him this preseason, but not any longer. It’s obviously the right thing to do to allow these athletes to represent their country, but it’s a shame. White has PL experience; Saliba doesn’t — the difference is considerable. Stats comparisons between leagues also won’t tell the full truth about the player, as helpful as they can be in giving us an indication of the way they play or have been utilized by their coaches. I’m sure that Saliba is going to be an excellent… Read more »

Bishop

If Arteta is not impressed with what he has been doing during his loan spells, then I do not know what he needs to do to move the niddle

Futsboller

I’m sure Arteta is impressed with Saliba and his potential, and he stated that Saliba was due to have a very important pre-season with the first team.

Atom

If we’re spending 50m on White it is as a guaranteed starter, who happens to play the exact same position as Saliba. He might be able to play left center back and beat out Arteta’s 30m signing for that position last year (Gabriel) but that seems unlikely. Salibas career here effectively looks over before it began. We won’t need to rotate at all next year & it seems unfathomable that Saliba would want to sign an extension with us after Arteta /Edu so badly botched last year (didn’t register him for Europe/ couldn’t even get loan paperwork done) & have… Read more »

Futsboller

As Arteta and other managers have stated on separate occasions, a transfer fee does not guarantee a start, nor do wages (just ask Ozil). With Gabriel and Saliba off at the Olympics, we’re beginning the season with Holding and Mari and White (presumably) at centre back, with Chambers also able to play a part. As we know all too well at Arsenal, it doesn’t take much to find ourselves in an injury crisis at the back. We used to rip on our management for not building our squad with forward thinking, and yet here we are with a central defensive… Read more »

Atom

That’s complete nonsense. Arteta didn’t sign Saliba and clearly doesn’t seem to want to play him now that his job is on the line.

Futsboller

Saliba can have a future at Arsenal under Arteta if he wants one.

Teta's cult of personality

Saliba can have a future at Arsenal under Arteta if he wants one

Correct! Saliba CAN have a future at Arsenal under Arteta if he (Arteta) wants him to have one. Glad we’re all on the same page👍

SarcasmB0t

Not if Arteta doesn’t give him a chance.
He didn’t last year.

Futsboller

Lots of time for him to earn that chance if he really wants it above everything else. No reason he can’t still be an Arsenal legend — he’s only 20.

Atom

Why would he? Arteta completely botched his season last year meaning he didn’t even get to play until January. Then after performing extremely well on loan he had just seen Arteta block off his first team route via one of the most expensive defensive signings in history.

Futsboller

Well, presumably for the reason he signed in the first place – to be a premier footballer with Arsenal FC. It’s a dream for a lot of players out there, and an honour for many more. Saliba is going to have to adapt to competition – being a centre back at a big club like Arsenal means competing with other highly qualified players, including those that come with a significant transfer fee. We paid 27m for Saliba at 18; not sure White at 50m is that disproportionate — I mean, if Saliba is as good as everyone thinks, he’ll easily… Read more »

Atom

Arsenal isn’t remotely a premier club anymore. If he is as talented as he appears he will go to a club with a chance of actually winning major honors.

Futsboller

Sure we are; we’re just experiencing a massive reboot. I know I’m in the minority, but I believe we’re building something special, as Tierney pointed out today. I have a feeling we can trust him.

If Saliba wants to be at Arsenal, and wants to play in the red and white, he will; if he doesn’t, well, so be it; we’ll get a handsome transfer fee that we can reinvest.

Atom

We haven’t even challenged for a major trophy realistically in almost 20 years. This isn’t a reboot.

allezkev

What since 2001?

Atom

The cL in 2006 so 15 years. The pl since 02 or so.

allezkev

Ok, well we did win the Premier League in 2004 and we were Champions League semi finalists in 2009 which I would suggest is challenging and we were actually runners up in the Premier League as recently as 2016.

Atom

We only got 2nd in 16 on the last day of the season. So a CL semi almost 12 years ago & winning the league 17 years ago. That’s not a premier club IMO from a sporting sense.

allezkev

Last day or not, we still finished 2nd only 5 years ago.

Atom

We finished 2nd but weren’t actually competitive in terms of winning the league. Really not sure what your point is.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Yes we were, we fell off at the end but we should have won the league that year. I am a negative Nancy too but you are dismissing facts to try and get a point across and it makes no sense.

Atom

We were 10 points off the leaders in probably the weakest pl season ever seen. I suggest you take a look at the table.

Futsboller

Well, if you can’t see the changes we are going through on all levels at the club since Wenger left as a rebuild or reboot, then I can’t help you out. Maybe read some of the things that Tierney has been saying about the club and the manager; he’s still young, but I think he knows enough to know.

I know you don’t think much of the FA Cups we won, but I’ve really enjoyed those and I think they matter. The players seem to think they matter, a lot.

Atom

Well this is the year Arteta has to actually achieve real results so we will know by year end whether he actually has what it takes.

Domi

After five years time maybe judging by the look of things, which makes no sense.

Riku

CB Defenders prime 25-31, once they can read the game , after experience and legs still can run hard. And time tackles

SarcasmB0t

Yes, Saliba doesn’t have Premier League experience – and whose fault is that?

Oh yeah, the fault of the same guy who thought it was more important for the club to register Mustafi for half a year than to try and develop a prospect – and who finished eighth.

The scary part is that Saliba, who’s apparently too inexperienced to be trusted, still has more experience as a footballer than Arteta does as manager – not to mention a far more consistent record.

Futsboller

We are so fortunate to have so much talented youth at Arsenal, from manager right through to the academy. We’re building the foundations for success, for years to come. Exciting times to be a Gooner!

Domi

I wanna have what you’re having. We do have a few amazing youngsters but that’s that. And still enough time for citeh to come with 70+m offer for Saka. He could be for us what sterling was for pool, a talent that got away due to not being able to compete (or in our case at least try to look like a semi-serious club).

Futsboller

I definitely do not want anything you’re having — my goodness, what’s up with you guys?

I’m excited for what’s to come. Lots of youth and promise. This is what it is all about!

Riku

Based on what change ? Would be happy if it happens the 75-100 goals …

Futsboller

Too many to list, but take your pick from fans back, more of the dead weight cut from the squad and exchanged for younger players, the continued improvement of Pepe-Saka-ESR-Partey and return to form of Auba, an Arteta who knows his squad’s potential much better, and so on. It’s going to be exciting ….

Domi

Sorry but you sound like someone from arsenal, paid to give comments like that and manipulate, or like you just haven’t seen last season at all and you’re continuing from the fa cup success.

Futsboller

Well, I appreciate the compliment, as I really do love this club — to be considered “from Arsenal” is perhaps the finest achievement to date for this supporter. Thank you. I’m chuffed!

It’s too bad that my brand of patient, optimistic support is viewed as some kind of manipulation or is divisive as others have claimed to be, but I just don’t see the doom and gloom and rampant villainy that the loudest voices on here proclaim at every opportunity.

Futsboller

Well, I appreciate the compliment, as I really do love this club — to be considered “from Arsenal” is perhaps the finest achievement to date for this supporter. Thank you. I’m chuffed!

It’s too bad that my brand of patient, optimistic support is viewed as some kind of manipulation or is divisive as others have claimed to be, but I just don’t see the doom and gloom and rampant villainy that the loudest voices on here proclaim at every opportunity.

Nketibag

It doesn’t seem very thought-through to me, almost like a knee-jerk reaction to him being named in the England squad.
That would make sense as we have no scouts left, and our only guy in charge of recruitment had two board-room roles in Brasil. Expert he is not.
From his point of view, why not buy the guy on the back page of the Sunday supplement? That’s easy right, if England like him, they’ve done their research and we don’t have to.
Outsmarting the market?? It’s lazy as f—

Bob

Everyone needs to calm down, White would be a great signing, he’s a significant upgrade on Holding, Saliba is still a great prospect and White isn’t replacing him. Nor will he be our only signing this summer, the club are investing. Fantastic for Saliba to go to the Olympics, what a great experience, so what if he’s away from Arsenal for a few weeks, if he’s as good as we expect he’ll be with us for a long time. Do City have just two CBs? Did Liverpool massively struggle when their 1 good CB got injured last year? If we’re… Read more »

Domi

We’re not playing any European football and we have too many CBs. 4 is more than enough in our case.

Man Manny

What Arteta/Edu are doing with Saliba is beyond comprehension.
It is high up there with any other shambolic management of a player you can remember.
I am beginning to have serious doubts about the twosome’s capacity to lead Arsenal back to the top.

Viv The 🐐

Just when I thought, pre season is going to be his chance to say what’s up, this comes along. Very frustrating. Maybe Saliba says No, and wants to really impress here. Let’s see what happens. But just when I got my hopes up, this comes along.

Boff

Maybe Saliba wants to go, and has requested that from his club?

Viv The 🐐

I mean, even with a loan in the PL next season …. where does he go from there next season? Just a bit frustrating, but we then have probably two/three of the bigger CB prospects on our books …. could be worse.

Comedian

Was never Arteta out or Arteta in, but when you make young prospects like guendouzi and saliba market value off you should be questioned. Think will reserve ny thoughts till the leicester game where we are in the table till the leicester game.

Twatsloch

The headline made me think he was heading for Marseille.

Magneto

“To be clear, unlike FIFA-sanctioned tournaments, Arsenal are under no obligation to release players for the Olympics. We will be allowing Gabriel and Saliba to participate out of choice.”

Equally, Saliba could choose to provide the French FA with a diplomatic excuse, and basically say ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to the call up, and then report for pre-season training at Arsenal as originally planned.

Frank Bascombe

I hope he does as it’ll give him some vital time with his club but I suspect he’ll opt for representing his country. Arteta could insist that he spends the full pre-season with Arsenal and, given his sworn oath to destroy Saliba’s life, I wonder why he hasn’t? Unless of course, it’s all part of a bigger plan. Let him miss pre-season and ultimately, the boat entirely… Yes, that’ll be it. FFS!

Teta's cult of personality

It seems like there is no one solution that will leave all parties happy.

A couple things to note:

  1. Arsenal previously stopped Saliba from participating in the Coupe de France final last year. I doubt he’d be happy to have it happen again.
  2. Saliba is already on thin ice with the FFF. His suspension only finished recently, so he is probably eager to rebuild his reputation.
Okester

Classy Arsenal. Very classy…

Darrin

I was expecting him to come straight into the first team, I couldn’t work out why Arteta wouldn’t give him a chance

Merlin’s Panini

If the plan is to move him on then the Olympics is the next best shop window after the Euros. Still, I would like to see him playing in an Arsenal shirt next season. At this rate we could end up with him leaving on a free in a couple of years and us having pissed away money that could have been spent on a first team player.

SarcasmB0t

This reminds me of Emery’s Xhaka captaincy fiasco.
Something which should be good news, but which the manager has made a complete cock-up of and pissed off half the fanbase in the process.

I hope White plays like a man possessed, because if he turns a Partey and takes a while to get going, he might get the Xhaka treatment -i.e. have the fans be pissed at him until the manager is fired.

If Arteta manages his team the way he manages the feelings of the fanbase, it’s no wonder we’re out of Europe.

WellArsed

There’s no doubt Saliba has been poorly treated by Arsenal but there is still a possibility that he will get his chance this season. It’s conceivable that White and Saliba could play together in the same team.

Riku

Back three white , Saliba , gab
, wing backs
Saka on r wb, ( as I believe England will use him v Germany ) and KT lwb

Sachin

Cue more creative bitching from people who doubted Saliba’s ability by saying he didn’t make it to the Euro squad.

arseblog

It’s not as if the Olympics is the pinnacle of football, in fairness

spartan

Some people seem to think that White is a replacement for Saliba. What if it’s more a case that White is an upgrade on Luiz and Saliba an upgrade on Holding? Did we opt for an English CB (as opposed to a non-homegrown one) because we intended to sell one and needed to maintain our homegrown numbers? Arsenal seem open to selling Holding. He almost went out on loan last year. His playing time last season and new contract would have boosted his value. His sale could go some way to covering the cost of Saliba, and we’d end up… Read more »