William Saliba will be part of the Arsenal squad during pre-season and the start of the 2021/22 campaign, according to a report.

William Saliba playing for OGC Nice against Paris Saint-Germain on 13th February 2021 (Photo via FEP / Panoramic)
William Saliba playing for OGC Nice against Paris Saint-Germain on 13th February 2021 (Photo via FEP / Panoramic)

Mark Mann-Bryans writes that as things stand, William Saliba will be part of the Arsenal contingent in pre-season and the start of the new upcoming campaign. The plan is to properly involve the defender with the first team once he’s back from OGC Nice.

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This tallies with the reports from last week indicating Mikel Arteta was planning to give Saliba a chance in pre-season.

For some people, this will sound like Arsenal are doing the bare minimum. They’ll argue he should have been involved earlier, and it’s not praiseworthy to start including him now – two years after he was signed.

But, as unpopular as this opinion might be, I think there was also some logic in Arsenal’s decisions on Saliba, at least from January onwards.

Though I’d totally agree that the first half of the season was unnecessarily wasted, it’s true that it would have been hard to integrate the defender with Arsenal after that.

He needed a run of games after an injury-hit season with Saint-Etienne followed by a pandemic-enforced break from football altogether. The Gunners couldn’t really give him that consistency.

The difference now is that he has 20 appearances under his belt in just a few months. Mikel Arteta’s desire for Saliba to have a “year of transition” has largely been fulfilled. He’s fit, he’s playing regularly, and he’s earned his chance with Arsenal.

There are no more excuses now. He has to start playing for Arsenal, or we may as well just sell this summer and move on.