Arteta explains why he didn’t interact much with Saliba

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Mikel Arteta explained his views on why he didn’t interact much with William Saliba during the initial few weeks of Arsenal’s pre-season tour.

Saliba future was under speculation after he returned to the Emirates last summer following his third loan spell in recent years. Arsenal spent around £25 million for the Frenchman in 2019 but Saliba was immediately sent back to Saint-Etienne to continue his development.

The Frenchman spent another season at Ligue 1 with Nice. However, his breakthrough season came while playing for Marseille in which he was the Ligue 1 young player of the year. But Saliba was yet to make his debut for the Gunners. Arteta also admits the fact that he had several questions has to be answered before he could be seen as a perfect player for the first team.

Arteta decides not to speak with Saliba during the initial week of Arsenal’s pre-season tour but later realize he is a special talent. He said:-

“The first question was how the player is going to reintegrate into our dynamic after being out for so long,’ Arteta said when asked about Saliba’s integration last summer.

“Is there some frustration there, something personal between, for example, between me and the player because he could not understand that?

“Is it the same to do it in France as it is to do it in this league for Arsenal because you don’t have 21-year-old defenders at the top level in England?’

“For the first week I didn’t speak to him. I just wanted to see – naturally, without me really interfering in his thoughts – how he was.

“Because then you can understand the real him and after that I spoke to him.”


Arteta then explained how Saliba made an instant impact at Arsenal. He added:-

“He had an immediate impact… the first two training sessions that we looked at him and thought: “There’s huge potential here.

“His attitude, the way he came in.

“Without any looking back, or being shy – he was doing it the right way.”

Saliba started in all 25 matches in Premier League for Arsenal. The Frenchman formed a formidable partnership with Gabriel to help the Gunners to go five points clear at the top.

However, Arteta’s side will like to win their weekend clash against Bournemouth to take more lead over reigning champions Manchester City.

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