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January Window: Saliba loaned out

Edu and Co are trimming to squad size to start of 2021

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AFC Wimbledon v Arsenal U21 - Papa John’s Trophy Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

Arsenal have loaned William Saliba to French side, OGC Nice for the remainder of the season. Saliba has yet to debut for Arsenal and this is now his second loan since becoming an Arsenal player for 27 million, two summers ago. Saliba was supposed to be loaned at the beginning of the season, but his paperwork fell through the cracks as the window closed and therefore he has had zero first team football in the last 6 months.

At the moment, we practically know nothing about Saliba’s true ability or potential at Arsenal. We know at the beginning of the season, he was not in Arteta’s plans and had not developed at the rate Arsenal had hoped. Our handling of the situation should have been better to get him a season long loan of first team minutes. In recent weeks, Arteta has praised the young French defender for rapid progress while training with Arsenal’s first team. But, this could be coaching fodder, to protect a player’s value and confidence, without actual matches, this can’t be judged.

It is positive Edu and Arteta have sorted this situation out for the rest of this campaign, not only does Saliba go to a team where he’ll be depended on immediately, it also trims Arsenal’s squad size. Sead Kolasinac is off to Schalke and it looks like Sokratis is about to depart too, whether mutually canceling his contract, taking a loan, or Arsenal taking a small transfer fee is to be determined. Clearly Arsenal’s Front Office knows, before any player can potentially brought in, those on the fringes have to find landing spots first.

Best of luck to William Saliba, hopefully continued growth in addition to first team minutes, will allow him to return to London Colney in competition for a first team place for the 2021-22 season.