Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has two concerns over William Saliba after Europa League snub

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is eager to see William Saliba improve in two key areas of his game before he becomes a first-team option at the Emirates. Saliba was left out of Arsenal’s 25-man squad for the Europa League group stages earlier this week.

The 19-year-old arrived in north London after a season-long loan at Saint-Etienne and was expected to play an important part under Arteta this term.

But following the arrival of Gabriel Magalhaes and the inability to offload Shkodran Mustafi or Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Saliba has yet to make his Gunners debut.

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Gabriel, David Luiz and Rob Holding are all ahead of Saliba in the pecking order while Mustafi, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers were all included over the Frenchman in the European squad.

And having been left out of the contingent for a competition in which it was thought Saliba might have featured heavily to get used to his new team-mates, the defender could now leave on loan again.

The France youth international can still move to a Championship club before the domestic transfer window closes on October 16.

Brentford, Watford and Norwich are among the clubs to be linked with the promising centre-half, all of whom are hopeful of promotion to the Premier League this term.

And according to ESPN, Arsenal are willing to send £27million ace Saliba away for a year because Arteta is not convinced he is ready for the rigours of England’s top flight.

The Spanish coach is said to be concerned about Saliba’s defending of set-pieces and his maturity, believing he is too rash and dives into tackles too readily.

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While Arteta’s coaching staff still rate the young defender highly, though he was signed under Unai Emery, they want to be patient with him.

Arsenal are focused on immediate improvement rather than developing young players after the deadline day acquisition of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid.

The £45m Ghanaian was brought in to help aid Arsenal’s push for a Champions League spot having been outside of Europe’s elite competition since 2015-16.

ESPN add that Arteta played a key role in convincing club owner Stan Kroenke to sanction the funds to bring Partey to London.

And the club are also set to back his belief that Saliba needs more time to develop before he can be an option in his back-line, whether that be in a back three or a back four.


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Press Association say that the Gunners will pick carefully over which Championship club Saliba goes out on loan to for the next 12 months.

They will consider destination, style of play, location and the potential manager he would play for among key factors in their decision.

Arsenal have managed three wins and a defeat from their first four Premier League games as they aim for a top-four finish.

And speaking earlier this month, Arteta said: “I’m really happy with the players that I have and my job is to improve them. This is the job and focus on the players and staff that I have here and to make this place better.

“Whatever we can add and we can improve of course we will try to do it but we have to be realistic as well about how much we can do in a certain period of time.

“Honestly my energy is in the people that work alongside us. They are all willing to help, they’re supportive with me and I can only thank them. It’s a give and take between us.

“Whoever jumps on the boat will be welcome because we will believe that he is adding something whether it’s a player, a staff member or whoever.

“Now I can say that we all share the same ambitions first and we have a very clear direction and purpose to drive the goals that we want to achieve now.”

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