Official: William Saliba departs Arsenal on loan/Edu confirms future plans for stopper

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Premier League giants Arsenal have this evening confirmed the loan departure of William Saliba, who has returned to his home country for a stint with OGC Nice.

Official: William Saliba departs Arsenal on loan/Edu confirms future plans for stopper

Gunners spell

Saliba’s Arsenal stint has of course proven somewhat bizarre to this point.

The now-19-year-old was purchased from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019, before being immediately loaned back to the Ligue 1 outfit, to gain further first-team experience.

The general assumption, though, was that Saliba would return to the Emirates this year, ahead of playing a central role in Mikel Arteta’s first-team setup – the Gunners did, after all, splash out a reported £27 million on the youngster.

In turn, Saliba, as expected, went on make the move back to north London during the summer.

Surprisingly, however, he subsequently struggled to secure any sort of consistent game-time. In fact, the Frenchman was not afforded a single appearance for Arsenal’s first-team to this point in the campaign.

Instead, Saliba was restricted to outings with the club’s youth sides, having surprisingly been completely omitted from Mikel Arteta’s Europa League group stage squad.

Official: William Saliba departs Arsenal on loan/Edu confirms future plans for stopper

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 13: William Saliba of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on September 13, 2019 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Nice switch

Arteta, in turn, went on to express his regret at Saliba’s situation late last year, admitting that it ‘hurt’ him to leave the youngster out:

‘I feel really bad for William Saliba. Because we had so many central defenders, we decided to leave him out of the squad which was really hurtful for me to do.’

Word stemming from the media over the weeks and months which followed, however, certainly appeared to suggest that the attempts of his manager to smooth over the situation had not had much impact in easing Saliba’s disappointment.

In fact, just last week, it was claimed that the door had been opened to a potential permanent Emirates exit for the gifted youngster.

And, as outlined above, a departure from north London has, in turn, tonight been confirmed.

If the accompanying statement on the part of the club is anything to go by, however, then, as things stand at least, Saliba looks set to have a future in the English capital.

Taking to social media a short time ago, Arsenal announced that their big-money defender has joined French outfit OGC Nice on loan for the 2nd-half of the campaign.

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: William Saliba of Arsenal during the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Meadow Park on October 30, 2020 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 30: William Saliba of Arsenal during the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Meadow Park on October 30, 2020 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

The post, though, also included a message from technical director Edu Gaspar, in which the Brazilian was quick to reassure fans of Mikel Arteta’s men that Saliba will go on to ‘have a great career’ with the club:

‘William Saliba is a player with a huge amount of talent and potential. We’re confident he will have a great career with us but we must remember that he is still only 19 years old and has a lot of time ahead of him.’

‘William experienced a very challenging time last year, with his playing time limited by injury and the early ending of the Ligue 1 season due to the pandemic.’

‘So together with William, we have decided that spending the rest of the season on loan with Nice is the best way for him to develop. We will be keeping in close contact with William during his time with Nice and look forward to seeing him make good progress until the end of the season.’

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Liverpool FC 16 17 33
2 Manchester United FC 16 9 33
3 Leicester City FC 17 10 32
4 Tottenham Hotspur FC 16 14 29
5 Manchester City FC 15 11 29
6 Everton FC 16 6 29
7 Aston Villa FC 15 13 26
8 Chelsea FC 17 11 26
9 Southampton FC 16 6 26
10 West Ham United FC 17 3 26
11 Arsenal FC 17 1 23
12 Leeds United 17 -3 23
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 17 -6 22
14 Crystal Palace FC 17 -7 22
15 Newcastle United FC 16 -8 19
16 Burnley FC 15 -11 16
17 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 17 -7 14
18 Fulham FC 15 -10 11
19 West Bromwich Albion 17 -28 8
20 Sheffield United FC 17 -21 2
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 13
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 12
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 11
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 11
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 11
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 10
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 10
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 8
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 8
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 7
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 7
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 7
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 6
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 6
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 6
Abraham, Tammy Chelsea FC 6
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 5
Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 5
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 5
Soucek, Tomas West Ham United FC 5

Source: 101greatgoals.com