Mikel Arteta admits he was ‘concerned’ about William Saliba and gives update on Arsenal star’s future
Posted by  badge Boss on Oct 08, 2022 - 05:27PM
Mikel Arteta has benefited from the emergence of William Saliba this season (Picture: Sky Sports)

Mikel Arteta admits he was ‘concerned’ about his relationship with William Saliba but is now hopeful the emerging star of Arsenal’s season can be convinced to commit his long-term future to the north club.

The defender’s move to Arsenal pre-dated Arteta’s appointment as ’s successor, but on his return from a loan spell at Saint-Etienne it was deemed he was not ready to fight for a first team place.

Saliba subsequently spent the second half of the 2020/21 season on loan at Nice before spending another full year with Marseille last term which culminated in him being crowned Ligue 1’s best young player.

The 21-year-old was finally give the chance to prove he was ready to cement a place at the heart of Arsenal’s defence at the start of the current campaign, and he has delivered a series of sensational performances, capped by a masterclass in last weekend’s north London derby win over Spurs.

With his contract winding down, however, Arsenal are desperate to get back to the negotiating table and secure Saliba’s long-term future and Arteta is hopeful of a positive resolution with the elegant centre-half now firmly established as a first team regular.

Reflecting on an initial tricky period in their relationship, Arteta told Sky Sports: ‘I’m really pleased. I was at many moments concerned because it was really tricky the way the relationship was at the start.


‘We bought him, we sent him on loan first because that was part of the deal. He came back, we didn’t think he was ready and then sent him back on loan.

‘A player of that potential that had that recognition already externally… how that was going to affect our relationship?

‘But we believed and I was convinced that period was going benefit him much more than staying here. And the moment I saw things that gave me signals of what he could do we had no doubt he was a player for us.

‘He was really humble and determined to say “OK I can put that aside, I understand”. Now he’s starting to perform here and he’s been exceptional.’

Pressed on how close Saliba was to signing a new deal, Arteta added: ‘I don’t know. Obviously that’s something Edu and the club are managing.

‘They know my input and we always work together on that. Whenever they are ready to do that we’ll announce it.’


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