Arsenal colossus In today’s World Cup match between France and Tunisia, William Saliba was, once again, left off the team’s roster.
Since France had already qualified for the tournament, Didier Deschamps gave opportunities to players such as Matteo Guendouzi, Jordan Veretout, Randal Kolo Muani, Axel Disasi, and Youssouf Fofana; yet, there was still no room for Saliba in the starting XI.
Now, we are not solely blaming his exclusion for this, but the Arsenal No. 12 will surely look back at what happened in 2020 and feel as though it may be a contributing factor. Now, we are not solely blaming his exclusion for this.
What exactly is going on here?
When Saliba was still in the middle of an important phase of his development in the year 2020, Arsenal made a serious mistake.
As stated in an official statement, the Ligue 1 club made an effort to secure the services of the French defender following his return from a loan stint at Saint-Etienne. However, the club was unable to reach an agreement with the defender regarding a further loan for an entire season.
However, according to that statement, the “administrative prerequisites could not be satisfied in time in England,” and Saliba saw his return to Saint-Etienne fall through. The French club pointed the finger squarely at Arsenal for the failure of the transfer to go through.
Because the Gunners were unable to locate a suitable replacement for Saliba, he was forced to spend the next six months playing football at the Under-21 level in north London. He participated solely in the Premier League 2 and the EFL Trophy.
In the end, Saliba was able to conclude a loan move to OGC Nice in the second half of the 2020/21 season. However, he was visibly upset by what had occurred, as he expressed to RMC Sport: “He (Arteta) judged me on two-and-a-half matches. He informed me I wasn’t ready for more playing, which was disappointing because I really wanted him to do that.
“I was waiting for him to give me a chance, but football is like that,” he said. “I was waiting for him to give me a chance.”
Arsenal delayed William Saliba development
When Saliba was just 19 years old and at a pivotal point in his development, the loan to Saint-Etienne became a source of contention.
If Saliba had not squandered those vital six months, it is arguable that he would have been in a stronger position to compete for a spot in France’s World Cup XI and would have been a more well-rounded player overall. Of course, this is a completely hypothetical scenario, but there is certainly a case to be made for it.
The young footballer, who is now 21 years old, has obviously continued to develop into a fantastic footballer; however, there is a possibility that he could have been even better at this stage of his career if Arsenal had not botched his loan in 2020.