Saliba's Arsenal future to be 'decided soon', says Arteta

William Saliba Arsenal 2020-21
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The Gunners defender has yet to make a senior appearance this season and wasn't even registered in their 25-man Europa League squad

Arsenal have yet to decide whether William Saliba will be sent out on loan in January.

The 19-year-old centre-back has yet to make a senior appearance for the Gunners following his £27 million move from Saint Etienne in 2018.

He was expected to be a key player this season, having spent the 2019/20 campaign back on loan with his former club in Ligue 1, but things have not gone to plan.

Saliba has suffered some personal issues off the pitch and had to deal with the death of his mother soon after making his move to England.

His struggles to adapt saw him left out of Arsenal’s 25-man squad for the Europa League and he has yet to play a single minute in the Premier League or even make a matchday squad.

The centre-back has instead had to make do with some appearances for the Under-23s and it has been widely expected that he will leave on loan once the January transfer window opens, with Saint Etienne the likely destination.

Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League meeting with Dundalk on Thursday night, however, Mikel Arteta said a final decision on the defender’s future had yet to be made.

“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.”

Saliba was sent off on Tuesday night while playing for Arsenal’s U21s in the Football League Trophy against Wimbledon at Plough Lane.

His continued absence from the first-team has been a source of great frustration amongst some fans and Arteta was asked when they cool expect to finally get their first proper look at the centre-back in the first-team.

“Whenever we have the spaces and we believe that he's ready to play with us,” he replied.

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“To be fair, he's made massive improvements in the last few months and it's been a really tricky situation for him. As I mentioned before, designed a pathway for him and there were a lot of things that happened to him in his personal life and professionally as well.

“Now we've made some steps forwards, he's working really hard and played for the under-21s again.

“That was a good game because [Gabriel] Martinelli finally came back for 45 minutes, so I think it was a really positive day for us in terms of that.”