William Saliba is reportedly desperate to secure some regular first-team football as soon as possible, and being aware he won’t be getting it at Arsenal, he wants to leave the club in January on loan for the rest of the season.
The Gunners acquired the 19-year-old centre-back from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019. They paid a reported fee of €30 million for his services – quite a lot for a player of that age with still a lot to prove. What’s more, as part of the deal, they were obliged to send him back to the Ligue 1 side on a season-long loan.
It would have suited Arsenal fine, seeing Saliba as a future prospect rather than a player for the present, but the 2019/20 campaign was cut short in France due to the Covid-19 outbreak and Saliba made no more than 12 appearances.
Upon his arrival to the Emirates this summer, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta judged him not to be ready to play at the level required and he left him out of the squad for this season. It remains a bit of a mystery why the club didn’t look for a suitable loan solution as soon as Arteta made his call.
Be that as it may, Saliba is now keen to continue his development, but for that he needs to be playing regularly. Saint-Etienne are willing to take him back for the second half of 2020/21, but they apparently cannot afford his wages. Nonetheless, the youngster would be ready to accept a vast cut in his earnings, if it would help him move somewhere where he’d be playing week-in-week-out.