Mikel Arteta says William Saliba is making great strides in his development with the club, ahead of a January decision on their next steps.

William Saliba with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)
William Saliba with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)

A few months into his second season since signing for Arsenal, William Saliba is still waiting for his competitive debut. After a year on loan with Saint-Etienne, he’s started the new campaign with the youth teams, trying to break into first-team contention.

Ahead of Arsenal’s match against Dundalk on Thursday, one journalist asked Mikel Arteta when Saliba would get the chance to make his debut.

“Whenever we have the spaces and we believe that he’s ready to play for us,” Arteta responded. “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, [we] 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.”

On a potential loan, Arteta added: “It’s something that we are discussing at the moment, the best thing for us to do. It will be decided soon.”

Most recently, Saliba played for the Arsenal u21s against AFC Wimbledon. He had another positive game, for the most part, showing his quality on many occasions and keeping his team in it.

After a couple of major individual errors from his teammates, including a red card, Saliba ended up getting sent off himself for a second bookable offence. But that wasn’t in keeping with the rest of his recent performances, nor with his display on the night.

For the most part, the centre-back looks ready for a senior chance. It’s just frustrating that the squad restrictions have left him unable to get it in the Europa League.