Chelsea’s Malang Sarr interview sheds light on Arsenal’s William Saliba reluctance

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Chelsea’s Malang Sarr interview sheds light on Arsenal’s William Saliba reluctance

Saliba frustration

William Saliba has conducted a number of interviews, voicing his frustrations with the lack of opportunities afforded to him at Arsenal. He spoke of the fact that Mikel Arteta saw him in just a handful of games, and ‘judged’ him prematurely. The stopper added that he would have liked to have played more, but was assured by Arteta that he was not yet ready.

“He (Arteta) judged me on two-and-a-half matches,” Saliba told RMC Sport. “I would have liked for him to play me more. But he told me I wasn’t ready.

“I was waiting for him to give me a chance, but football is like that.”

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08: William Saliba of Arsenal U21 walks off from pitch after receiving red card during the EFL Trophy match between AFC Wimbledon and Arsenal U21 at Plough Lane on December 8, 2020 in Wimbledon, England. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 08: William Saliba of Arsenal U21 walks off from pitch after receiving red card during the EFL Trophy match between AFC Wimbledon and Arsenal U21 at Plough Lane on December 8, 2020 in Wimbledon, England. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

When asked about Saliba’s situation in November, prior to his departure on loan in January, Arteta revealed that the Gunners had attempted to find him a route out of the club temporarily in the summer, to play matches. He also admitted to being ‘fed up’ with the situation.

“I’m fed up with the situation because as you could see, we tried to find a way in the last few days [of the transfer window] to give him some football,” Arteta said.

“I explained that he needed that transition year when we decided to buy him and send him on loan to Saint-Etienne. For many reasons, that didn’t happen and he didn’t have that transition year.

Since arriving at Nice, Saliba has performed very well. He has become a regular in the club’s backline, and formed a strong partnership with fellow new signing Jean-Clair Todibo.

Sarr sheds light

Chelsea also saw a young Frenchman arrive in the summer from Ligue 1. The Blues acquired the services of former Nice centre-back Malang Sarr. Similarly to Arsenal, Chelsea had an abundance of centre-halves at their disposal, and added to that further by bringing in Thiago Silva from PSG.

With opportunities limited in London, and the Ligue 1 season having been curtailed early, Sarr was honest about his situation at Stamford Bridge, and admitted a loan exit was the right decision.

“I was training with Chelsea before I got loaned. The loan was part of the plan. I had to be honest with myself, my season ended in March and I wasn’t going to be successful right away with Chelsea,” said Sarr.

Chelsea’s Malang Sarr interview sheds light on Arsenal’s William Saliba reluctance

Nice’s French defender Malang Sarr celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between OGC Nice (OGCN) and Toulouse FC (TFC) at the Allianz Riviera stadium, in Nice, southeastern France, on December 21, 2019. (Photo by YANN COATSALIOU / AFP) (Photo by YANN COATSALIOU/AFP via Getty Images)

“It was the perfect solution because I wanted to do a season at a top club like Porto, to be good and then later take a place at Chelsea.”

With Saliba having not only seen his 2019/20 season ended early, but also suffered with a number of injury problems, perhaps Sarr’s insight could shed light on why Arteta was of the belief that Saliba was too far off the pace to come straight into Arsenal’s first-team.

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This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City FC 30 43 71
2 Leicester City FC 29 21 56
3 Manchester United FC 28 23 54
4 Chelsea FC 29 19 51
5 West Ham United FC 27 11 48
6 Everton FC 28 3 46
7 Tottenham Hotspur FC 27 18 45
8 Liverpool FC 28 11 43
9 Aston Villa FC 27 11 41
10 Arsenal FC 27 7 38
11 Crystal Palace FC 29 -16 37
12 Leeds United 28 -3 36
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 28 -9 35
14 Southampton FC 29 -15 33
15 Burnley FC 29 -15 33
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 28 -7 29
17 Newcastle United FC 28 -17 28
18 Fulham FC 29 -14 26
19 West Bromwich Albion 29 -37 18
20 Sheffield United FC 29 -34 14
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 17
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 16
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 16
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 14
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 13
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 13
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 12
Gundogan, Ilkay Manchester City FC 12
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 10
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 10
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 10
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 9
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City FC 9
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City FC 9
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 9
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 9
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 9
Maddison, James Leicester City FC 8
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 8
Soucek, Tomas West Ham United FC 8

Source: 101greatgoals.com