Mikel Arteta says William Saliba is ‘our player’ and they’ll soon take a decision on his role next season after getting the run of games he needed.
The talks of William Saliba’s future with Arsenal has only increased as the months have gone on, with the defender playing regular football for OGC Nice and the recent confirmation that David Luiz will be leaving the club in the summer.
Many see Saliba as a possible replacement for Luiz in the Arsenal team, particularly given he’s a centre-back with a lot of confidence on the ball.
Journalists asked Mikel Arteta about the prospect of Saliba taking over from Luiz in Tuesday’s press conference, and the Arsenal manager explained the club’s standpoint as things stand.
“You will see in the summer, the possible replacement,” Arteta responded. “William is our player for sure and that’s the decision that we’re going to be taking soon.
“We will sit down and discuss the roles of every member of the squad and how they can fulfil that role and he’s our player so he’ll be back here for sure.
“After that, we will make a decision based on the agreement of the role that each player is going to have in the squad.”
Obviously, this season didn’t quite go to plan for Arsenal with Saliba. Though his loan spell in the second half of the campaign has gone well, he spent a while before that playing for the u23s, if at all.
Arteta admits they could have used those months in a better way, and that’s what he would’ve preferred, but he added that Saliba has at least had a run of games now.
“I would have liked for [Saliba to go on loan] at the start of the season,” Arteta added.
“We had eight central defenders, which is unheard of, but we didn’t find the right moment, the right club, the right agreement to do that, and in my opinion, we could have used those four or five months in a better way.
“We tried to maximise it when we decided to keep him here until December and now he’s had a run of games that he needed after the difficult year that he had in the previous season.”