William Saliba appears to have criticised Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta via social media, claiming that he is being “locked up” at the Emirates Stadium.
Signed from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019, the France Under-21 centre-back has yet to make an appearance for the Gunners’ first team.
Unlike club-mate Mesut Ozil, Saliba has been included in the squad for the Premier League, though he is not eligible for European competition.
His performance for the Under-21 side won acclaim in midweek, although he was ultimately sent off in that EFL Trophy fixture against Wimbledon for two yellow cards.
His stock is unlikely to have increased in the eyes of the manager after an Instagram comment on Sunday.
He posted a series of fire emojis on a picture posted by Matteo Guendouzi to celebrate his first goal during a loan spell at Hertha Berlin – a deal that was cut because the midfielder fell out of favour with Arteta.
Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe, who will not be in action this weekend against Burnley because of a ban, replied: “That’s you problem, you comment on everything.”
The young centre-back replied in turn: “Hahaha I’m sending well wishes to the brother who was locked up like me.”
If the comment was subsequently deleted, Guendouzi’s direct response was not.
“We’re together, my little brother,” he responded.
Arteta, meanwhile, has hinted that the 19-year-old could soon be on his way.
“It's something that we are discussing at the moment,” said the Arsenal boss. “The best thing for us to do. It will be decided soon.”
His formative club, Saint-Etienne, have already indicated that they would love to see him back at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard for a third spell.
"I’m sure in the current state we need two or three players to complete this squad," ex-Arsenal full-back Mathieu Debuchy, who now turns out for Les Verts, told Telefoot. "Whether it is in defence and perhaps also in attack. I trust the coach to provide these solutions.
"William… we know his qualities. He was very impressive at Saint-Etienne.
"Unfortunately for him at Arsenal the start didn’t go the way he wanted it to, I think. There is William, there is Wesley [Fofana], these are two defenders who left us and who did incredibly well so it was loss.
"If William wants to come back this winter he will be welcome and he will have the advantage of knowing the team."