Thursday, July 18, 2024

Tokyo no-go for Saliba as France update Olympics squad

Last week it was reported that William Saliba was to be included in the France football squad for the Olympic Games which start in Tokyo this month.

It was a complication to an already difficult situation he finds himself in at Arsenal, as it would have essentially ruled him out of pre-season with the Gunners.

Now, however, there has been an updated squad released, and the 20 year old is no longer in it.

We’re unsure if this is because Arsenal blocked it, he decided not to take part, or some other reason, but in a statement this afternoon, the French Football Federation said, “Following the refusal of several clubs to release their player initially selected with the French Olympic football team, coach Sylvain Ripoll has unveiled a list with eleven new players.”

The full list, if you’re interested, can be found here.

It remains to be seen what will happen with Saliba this summer, and next season, with speculation that Arsenal want to send him on loan again. He has already rejected a move to Rennes, and it’s believed that Newcastle are keen – which would allow him to dip his toes into Premier League waters for the first time.

The player’s agent was in London this week to discuss matters with Technical Director Edu, but right now we remain somewhat in the dark about that meeting, the club’s plans and, of course, what Saliba himself wants to do.

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No you can’t play in the french cup final,
No you can’t go on loan, actually maybe you can?
No you can’t go on loan,
No you can’t make European appearances in group games,
No you can’t make Cup appearances vs minnows,
No you can’t play in the Tokyo olympics,

and if you add –
‘No you can’t have any first team chances this season’ on the end it begs serious question marks into the missing puzzle piece.


It is really bad parenting; you’re supposed to let the child decide when they’re ready to do something. Unbelievable that we haven’t incorporated the advice of the experts.

Johnny 4 Hats

In Saliba’s defence, apparently his room is really tidy and he occasionally unpacks the dishwasher.


Hopefully he’s stopped with those videos, too! 😉


And it sounds like we’ve let him choose Marseille for another loan. That’s better parenting, MA Edu!

Johnny 4 Hats

Let’s hope he isn’t planning ‘Two guys, one FA cup’.


Geezuz, Johnny! 🙂




Johnny’s Sins!


Not a parent. Not a child. Arteta is Saliba’s boss with in a job with extremely demanding requirements. Saliba is an adult with an agent a mortgage and very real responsibilities. There have been fuck-ups on all sides with Saliba, and realistically its looking unlikely this will be a good signing no matter what we hope, but the only thing we should demand is he’s given a fair shot and that we the fans get to see if he’s any good in an arsenal shirt


Fuck ups on all sides, except on Saliba’s. I Just want to see the kid be given a chance to prove himself.


Just making fun of all the outrage swirling about Salibagate.

What constitutes a fair shot in this context?


It wasn’t Arsenal who fucked up that cup final business. And you have no idea if it was him or the club – or both – who would rather do the pre-season rather than the Olympics.

The default position that our club is always in the wrong does my head in, it’s so prevalent from so many supporters these days.


Didn’t happen over night


What does that mean? I just think that people should not be always so negative about everyone working at the club.

Teta's cult of personality

It means that what has caused a lack of belief in the AFC staff/ownership is coming from a long-build up of issues. Now correct me if I’m wrong on some of the following but depending on how long you’ve been an Arsenal supporter, you might have observed: Long Term issues Only 2 real league challenges in the last 16 years. Only 2 European finals in the last two decades despite being one of the wealthier UEFA clubs. Comparatively high ticket/merchandise pricing despite a lack of elite football and declining football performance in general. Medium term issues The convincing of players… Read more »

The Beast

Some find speculation & conspiracy more entertaining than actual football.


I agree. But the buck has to stop somewhere and it was Arsenal that paid very good money for his services only to see it wasted. There is no doubt in my mind that there is something very odd that is not being discussed about the whole affair.

Teta's cult of personality

I wouldn’t call it default but I’ve been taking that stance more often simply because the club’s track record has been filled with poor decision after poor decision. Our club’s public image is even worse than Utd, City & Chelsea now. Which is just ridiculous given who their owners are. Imagine how it looks to a non-football fan for an organisation to be asking for government aid but wasting millions on players we don’t need. Or to be making far more staff redundant than other clubs. Even on the football side. Getting knocked out by the guy the club just… Read more »

Santa’s Thigh Grab

Can’t believe he’s not good enough to be in the squad in rotation based upon Fofana’s output last season. He either annoyed the manager or some weird contract shenanigans, only two plausible explanations.

Johnny 4 Hats

Did you know that scientists have done a great deal of research and recently discovered that Fofana and Saliba are, in fact, two completely different players?

A Different George

Yeah, but aren’t these the same guys who say the climate is changing?

Johnny 4 Hats

And who created Covid.

Ooohhh. Can he go there?

Course he can.


Upon further research, they have also discovered that Saliva played exactly zero games for Arsenal last season.

The scientists consider this sample size “not large enough to draw conclusions.”

Johnny 4 Hats

Isn’t saliva Harry Kane’s nickname?


I believe it is twatsack


It was a fair comparison based on their previous level and their age. I love sarcasm and your opinions in general but it has to be spot on otherwise looks bad

Johnny 4 Hats

I think stating that they are different human beings is pretty accurate. It’s a bit weird to assume two players development and skill sets will be identical because they play for the same club and are a similar age.

Gabriel and Holding are a similar age and play CB for Arsenal. I’m guessing you wouldn’t suggest that either could be played without any discernible difference.


It is reasonable to assume that given the commonalities between Forfana and Saliba up until their respective transfers, that both will progress similarly, until we have enough sample points thereafter to prove otherwise.

However, those additional sample points were deliberately denied by Arteta, so we can only work with what we have. And the longer Saliba is denied these opportunities, the greater handicap he will have, which inevitably helps Arteta’s case.

Hank Scorpio

The Gabriel / Holding comparison is false equivalence. Good scientists know that between subjects comparisons are insufficient without considering other important environmental/ contextual variables. So in the Fofana / Saliba comparison include manager related variables such as demonstrated competency would be useful. The alternative is to assume these variables are constant for both. That would be bad science.

Crash Fistfight

Bad news for Mikel Arteta. Now he can’t use the excuse of Saliba not having had a preseason with Arsenal for not playing him.

Teta's cult of personality

Arteta’s command of the English language is impressive enough for me to be certain that he’ll manage to find another excuse if required.

Saliba with no pre-season = He’s nowhere near ready.

Arteta with no pre-season = I need a break to embed my philosophy into this team.

Whatever the reason for Saliba’s removal, I’m just hoping it’s not too warm the bench.


It might get cold in winter, would be nice if the bench was a bit warm.

The Beast

There’s also the possibility that he just may not be better than what we have at CB atm?

Insane theory I know, but at some clubs managers get to see a player’s form in training & judge whether they should be playing based on that.

However, fully aware that at arsenal squad selection is based on comments & likes


He’s played extremely well on loan & really wasn’t given an opportunity last year as we didn’t even bother to register him for the Europa League over an injured Mustafi. That’s where the frustration lies in regard to this situation. It appears now that Arteta’s job is far less secure, Saliba isn’t going to get an opportunity this year either.


Meanwhile, human beings have their own inherent biases and will act accordingly. Insane theory right?

Crash Fistfight

So how many training sessions has Saliba had this preseason before being shipped out to another club again?


Saliba is better than White and who AFC would want to buy,just keep him or send him to Newcastle United on loan


Take away the top 5 teams in ligue 1 and the level of completion u’ll get is lower than the championship in England. I don’t get where this Saliba is better than White narrative is coming from. In my opinion, we simply overpaid for a very young, unproven CB. If we’d bought him for 5 or 10 m, we won’t be clamoring for him to play.


We wouldn’t have bought him for 5-10M. These hypotheticals are absurd.


Would you bet £1000 that the tenth place in premier beould beat 10th in France , and 11th v 11th all the way down .

I think there lots of decent side in ligue one down to 14

Non flying dutchman

Not a thousand because dont have that type of money to play fast and loose with….. however team for team for a tenner yeas i think you would come away from that smiling

Teta's cult of personality

The EPL is competitive no doubt but I think this is exaggerating the gap between Ligue 1 and the EPL. We simply just have a more commercial and wealthier league. In 2019-20, 7th placed Lyon knocked Man City out of the Champions League. Even against other leagues it’s the same story. United and Arsenal got out-maneuvered by 7th placed Villareal last season. Leicester were knocked out by Slavia Prague. Bottleham were knocked out by Dinamo Zagreb. As complete newbies, I wouldn’t fancy West Ham’s chances of progression next season in the Europa League. Let alone a Championship side beating a… Read more »


How is an unproven kid who hasnt played in the league better than Ben White? The French league is poor, he was nowhere near the French squad that couldnt defend crosses in the Euros. He hasnt even played for the french u21s.
I do agree a loan to Newcastle would likely be a good idea.

Teta's cult of personality

Fair point, there’s nothing to support the Saliba > White narrative. However, you can only beat what’s in front of you. Nice finished 9th whilst Brighton finished 16th.  Nice averaged 54% possession. Brighton averaged 51% possession Nice conceded 1.39 goals per game. Brighton conceded 1.21 goals per game White often played in a defence with Webster, Burn, Veltman and Dunk. Average age = ~26.2 Saliba played in a defence with Lotomba, Kamara and Todibo. Average age = ~21.4 Nice kept 9 Clean sheets. Brighton kept 12 Clean Sheets Saliba had a 92.6% pass completion rate, 5.4 progressive carries, 5.25 pressures,… Read more »

The Beast

Ben White played almost double the amount of matches as Saliba, so those stats should be taken with a hefty pinch of salt.

Also, I know you’ve said Ligue 1 isn’t as bad as some are suggesting, but it’s not as competitive as the prem. I mean, it’s just not.

Teta's cult of personality

But the competitiveness of the leagues wasn’t my point, it’s the fictional gap in quality that I’m referring to. Saliba has played in 48 Ligue 1 matches, Ben White has played in 36 EPL matches. Top level experience should count for something. Unless like Mekus, you believe that Ligue 1 matches are genuinely equivalent to Championship games, then I suppose Ben White’s additional 46 Championship appearances place him out of sight and the stats are meaningless. Myself, personally, I don’t think the quality gap is as wide as being made out. If it were, why are so many French players… Read more »


Ah but that’s good as it means he’ll be rested and injury free in time for when the Premier League…oh never mind.


If it’s a sign that Arteta does indeed want to try him in pre-season, it’s rather good news, as a new loan would certainly mean the end of his Arsenal career for good.

If he performs fine in the summer and convinces us to sell Holding, he can be a back-up to White… and then anything could happen.

Fingers crossed!

Johnny 4 Hats

I’m not sure where this ‘see what he’s like in preseason’ mentality has come from.

We spent £30m on him. If he needs a trial to prove his worth every year, maybe buying him wasn’t such a great idea. We should have known his strengths and weaknesses through and through and completely understood the player that was turning up at London Colney.

“And Arsenal’s new signing Alexander Isak will join the first team in August, provided he looks alright in training and has a decent game against Barnet”.

Hakuna Matata

Isak to arsenal is tantalizing


WHY DO WE NEED WHITE?! We have Rob Holding who is AT LEAST as very solid CB, maybe even better. Our defense (for once) was solid and CBs not full of appalling mistakes. After last year he is deserving of EPL inclusion. Then we have the ability to ease Saliba into the team with Cup fixtures and the odd EPL game. If he impresses our ceiling at CB just improve dramatically without dropping 50M pounds on an undersized CB who may be partially being signed due to versatility (which seems a bit mad considering we have Chambers already excelling in… Read more »


What do you make of the scouting reports on White, especially what he brings in terms of potential, ball-progression, pace, and error-free play? There has been a lot written about him, and it sounds like he would make a superb addition to the club, especially in the way we can build a better attack. Would it be so terrible to have a centreback core of Mari, Holding, Gabriel (who will miss the beginning of the season), White, and Saliba, if he’s not sent on loan to gain PL experience, with Chambers as additional cover? I haven’t read any Arsenal-covering journalists… Read more »


He’s a solid player. Good ball carrier. Positionally aware. But he’s very inexperienced, a fringe international, Small for a CB, and we’re going to pay the 7th highest transfer for a defender EVER!!!…That’s absurd, especially when we consider the needs elsewhere (CM, AM, maybe even GK and ST).

And how many Journo’s have you read reporting on the glowing relationship between Arteta and Saliba?


He’s a solid player, with considerable potential. He’s got a lot more PL experience than Saliba, and has been good enough to get the call up to England. Everyone writing and commenting about him sees something special, and the guy is clearly a workhorse (played nearly every game for Leeds and Brighton over the past two seasons). As so many writers and Arsenal commentators are indicating this transfer window, we’re going to sell and we’re going to spend — the window won’t close with just White coming in, if that even happens. We’re supposedly very close to bringing in a… Read more »


If he’s that good then why is it Arsenal and Everton and not City and Chelsea? Reports are Manure went elsewhere as soon as their asking price was stated. If we sign White, Saliba is done, unless Holding is moved. Sorry, based on our market dealing I have very little faith in Arsenal getting a signing like this right when we let slip on a far more important area (Buendia) for a lower cost. Maybe White turns into the best EPL defender we’ve ever had…but he bloody well better at that price. IMO, this smacks of another Arsenal overpay and… Read more »


Well, I’m not up on what City and Chelsea are looking for this window, or what they are trying to build. Because they haven’t shown interest doesn’t interest me; it would be great if we returned to the days when we brought in players that most people thought “who?” only to regretfully say, “yeah, him” a few years later. Saliba isn’t done if we sign White, and I really don’t know why everyone believes that. Can we not have a few really good centre backs at the club? Saliba just turned 20, we have a contract with him till 2024.… Read more »


I think Saliba has wanted to play for arsenal, which is why he signed and so far he hasn’t played for arsenal. So it appears his wants don’t mean much, nor does is signing him either apparently. Consider me skeptical until proven otherwise. And I’m all about us signing more unknowns that we about out (lokonga, tavares, both much more palatable deals than white).


Then there is nothing to worry about. He’s 20 years old, and both he and the club seem to agree that he needs to play more football and develop further. Marseille, if true, is a good choice, a team consistently in the top five (and someone else mentioned that Saliba choosing to remain in France, rather than a PL side, tells you he himself doesn’t think he’s ready for Arsenal and the PL). Since he is not being sold, and since Arteta and word reported out of Arsenal remains consistently positive that Saliba is integral to future plans, then we… Read more »


Oh dear… So at this end of this loan he’ll have 2 years left on his contract. At that point it’s sign a contract or sell. And you really think he’s going to sign a contract? And you really think this situation has been handled well by arsenal. Wow, Arteta could probably shoot someone on the street and you’d explain it away as actually being a good deed. In footballing terms he’s done just that. If Saliba is loaned again, he’s dead to us (as a footballer). Nothing but an absolute bottling from Raúl to Edu to Arteta. Saliba’s transfer… Read more »


This is a situation where having a weak sporting director is causing real issues. We’re effectively back in the Wenger era where the manager drives all squad decisions, leaving a real mess if the manager/coach doesn’t work out.


Let’s hope Arteta works out then.


Wow. In footballing terms, Arteta has shot someone in the street. Serious hyperbole.

But yeah, if Arteta or anyone was preventing further carnage by taking a man out, I’d probably see the positives. 😉


What is so special about this Nonsense epl experience. Which experience did Gabriel and fofana has b4 starting in epl?
It’s obvious that arteta does not regard the boy at all


Could it be that he regards the boy as not ready? Could it be that the boy, who chose to continue playing in France rather than expanding his game in England, is not ready?

Fofana played because Leicester had injuries; they were much worse than us defensively.

Hank Scorpio

The expectation should be that he walks into the team and is dominant from the start for that kind of money. Personally I just don’t see it happening. As mentioned, he’s short, had slight worse defensive stats than Holding and for all this talk of being a Luiz replacement, he completed fewer long passes than Holding in 6 more games. As for being versatile and playing right back, he completed 2 of 22 crosses at 9%. Chambers managed 18%. Sadly I am actually far more enthused about the possible signings of Tavares and Lokonga. Not because I think they’re amazing… Read more »


I think when buying younger players, the expectation that they walk right in and dominate isn’t realistic. People have been pretending that Saliba is Virgil van Dijk, now, at 20. White is 23 and coming from Brighton; while I am very excited by the potential indicated there in the scouting reports I’ve read, there should be some moderated expectations of him (as there were with Gabriel). I think it is clear that we’re targeting younger, quicker players with considerable athleticism and solid skillsets — exactly what we need to improve our ability to attack. I agree about Odegaard, and I… Read more »


This transfer is effectively forcing out Saliba – our other highly promising expensive young player who plays the exact same position & who has played extremely well on loan in the French league for several years. It’s also borrowing heavily from our future financially – a pattern over the past 3-4 years. Given those & the fact that White is already an established PL player, he needs to be dominate center half this season.


100%, White has to be dominant from day one. If he makes mistakes he will be slammed by the media and fans. It’s very likely he’s a good player, but at this price he has to be a great player. He’ll be under enormous pressure.

And it means Holding is now a backup (Saliba loan). There goes most of his value. At least if we kept saliba, signed white we could have sold high on holding. We just have no idea how to extract value from the market.

Yeah…..but 50M. Gimme a break!!


Yeah, I know, but presumably we can afford it based on our self-sustaining model. In order to get better, we’ve got to take some risks.


We haven’t been self sustaining in 3-4 years. We just keep borrowing from the future.


We’re managing just fine, despite everything.


Unless it follows an agreed course of action between Arteta and Saliba, this is bad news all around


Good point. There could be a plan behind this.
Or, it could be clown-car time continued. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.


lol…a plan?! hahaha…


But doesn’t it? Shouldn’t that be the fair assumption here? Salibas agent held talks about his future with the club, and right after France doesnt lost him. This must have been agreed but all parties (except France, because – if you look at the list – none of their top young players are playing because the clubs won’t let them). This is a critical season and Saliba needs to be with Arsenal for preseason and not a D grade French squad. This is good news as far as I’m concerned.


Your interpretation is great and very encouraging, until of course we send him on loan to OM.


Saliba doesn’t get much luck. Players like Mustafi, Holding, Mari, Luiz and Chambers were [playing ahead of him. Even left backs and midfielder were preferred in central defence during his Arsenal career!

The Beast

Maybe he can play in goal? I mean, I’ve never seen him play in goal for us but, then again, I haven’t seen him play CB for us either


If he’s good enough and has the right attitude, he’ll make it. If he doesn’t, then he won’t.

Can’t we all just leave it at that?


Thats what we all fear…that he will make it. For someone else

King 14enry

I think that point has been made enough at this point. Time will tell, but this constant “will he or won’t he” speculation on whether he’ll succeed with us or someone else has gotten quite old.

Eric Blair

Don’t you dare deny me the opportunity to be outraged on an internet forum about something I know close to zero about. Don’t you dare take that away from me!

Me from Here

This is one of the best comments I’ve read on this blog. That’s what most people do on the internet


Well in, Eric.


I hadn’t thought about it like that, sincere apologies, I feel nearly as bad as I assume I will do when Saliba wins the ballon d’or playing for Spuds.


Except that last year, he was given no chance to show whether he was good enough.

I doubt his attitude was so godawful it made playing Mustafi a sensible choice.

That’s why some people feel so strongly about this – he’s already considered by some to be on his way out, when the reality is that he wasn’t given a chance.

As long as he’s given a fair shot, Arsenal can make whatever decision they feel is appropriate.
But if he’s not, we have every right to be pissed.

So far, he hasn’t been given a fair shot.


Yeah I agree, at risk of adding to conjecture my take is he would have been kept last season, holding was on his way out but then did well in preseason and they thought Rennes would take saliba on loan so holding stayed and everyone would have been happy. That turned into an unfortunate mess and here we are. But if Holding, who is good if a little limited gets a chance, Saliba def will, he’s a young lad and has plenty of time on his side plus 3 yrs left on current contract.


My guess:
We blocked it as he’ll be worth more to another club if he’s available for pre-season and integration.
His agent’s been called in so Edu can tell him who’s in the frame and to get his arse in gear to sort something out, as Edu won’t do the agent’s job as well as his own.


Good or Bad the truth is Saliba a great asset for Arsenal but it seems at the moment he is not the first choice of Mikel & Edu. Olympics does not add value to the club at all. Arteta has made the right decision

Arteta is Holding Saliba in White Chambers.


I’d love to think it’s because Everton won the race for White and wasted 50m, and Arsenal will try Saliba, and spend money on positions actually needed.

It’s probably not that though.


Apparently, we’ve asked to be kept in the loop for any developments regarding Sergio Ramos’ situation.

35 yo shithouse on ridiculous wages? Sign me up!


Ramos for a year on £250,000 better than White for £50m plus wages.

I think…

Teta's cult of personality

Not with Ramos’ disciplinary record it isn’t. Knowing the Premier League refs, he’d get sent off on his debut.

I’m still healing from David Luiz’ induced hypertension, please let’s not make a sequel to that story.

Cultured Determination

Arteta should be,sacked if he doesnt at least give saliba a chance. Edu too. We,dont need a manager finishing 8th, giving willian a 3- year,contract and constantly playing him over others. Didnt givr nelson,a chance. Next in line to be pissed will be martinelli

Man Manny

Whoever created this mess around Saliba… and signed Willian on a 3 year deal (I heard Inter Miami balked at his wage demands and pulled the plug on an imminent deal), should be looking for a job as we speak.
I have lost faith in the current management’s ability to lead Arsenal back to the top, or thereabouts.


I just feel for the kid, just can’t catch a break

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Hopefully this is the result of last weeks meeting


I dare to say this is good news


I assume that is because you think that Saliba was urged to join preseason for us. Please don’t forget that it could also mean the exact opposite, he should not be at the Olympics cause we want to sell him and that would be much easier to orchestrate if he could do preseason at a potential buyer. Personally I am undecided about him, cause I have hardly ever seen him play. Of course it seems crazy to shell out so much money for such a young player and then never use him. On the other hand the transfer fee means… Read more »

Dr Plop

If he’s loaned out to Newcastle would be interesting to see his progress. Could be the makings of a good player.


Everybody spewing negativity here but doesn’t it seem logical his withdrawal was an agreed course of action b/w his agent and Edu

Mikels Arteta

Arsenal blocked him from competing at the olympics due to him rejecting a move to Rennes.
Arsenal were hoping to use him as a pawn in the camavinga deal

Teta's cult of personality

Where did you get this information from? That’s crazy if true.


Just more fantasy. Like 90% of the comments on this page. Most Arsenal fans live in a weird alternate reality that has nothing to do with the real world.

Hank Scorpio

But Camavinga is an inexperienced teenager playing in Ligue 1. Surely we’d just loan him out for a few seasons.


If this saga was a bit of chewing gum, not only would it have lost it’s flavour a few eons ago, but it’s also been stuck on platform 3 of Liverpool Street Station for six months.

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