William Saliba signed for Arsenal last summer. However, the 18-year-old centre-back was immediately sent back to Saint-Etienne on loan to continue his development.
This season, Arsenal have, yet again, been struggling with defensive issues. The Gunners have the likes of David Luiz, Sokratis, and Shkodran Mustafi in their books. This trio specifically has been disappointing this term, with only Callum Chambers, Kieran Tierney, and Hector Bellerin showing any sort of worth.
William Saliba Not Being Recalled From Loan
William Saliba’s Loan Masterclass
Saliba, however, has been the usual dominant force for his side’s backline in recent months. Although, he has suffered from injury for some of that time. He had hamstring problems at the start of the season, rendering him unavailable for some time. Saliba has also been rehabilitating at Arsenal’s training ground since he broke his foot in November.
When fit, however, there is an obvious improvement in Saint-Etienne’s overall game. When Saliba has played, they’ve not lost a single game. Plus, across 2019 as a whole, Saliba has had a win rate of 84.6%, keeping clean sheets in most of those games. Saint-Etienne’s win rate without Saliba in the squad for 2019 is a mere 24.3%.
These impressive statistics have given Arsenal consideration to recall the Frenchman from his loan spell. But, as it turns out, the Gunners are unable to do so.
Arsenal may just be ruing the decision to send him out on loan. It is true that he has been developing and growing as a player. However, he is the player Arsenal need at this moment.
The likes of Luiz and Mustafi aren’t enough to get Arsenal the clean sheets they need, as well as the goals, to help them climb the table after the passing of Christmas. Saliba could have been the missing link in Arsenal’s backline, but ASSE has refused to send him back.
What Will Arsenal Do Now That Saliba is Unavailable?
The January transfer window is fast approaching and, with that, Arsenal are surely going to be on the hunt for a solid defender.
For the past few transfer windows, Arsenal has been linked with a multitude of defenders. Dayot Upamecano is the most prevalent candidate. Samuel Umtiti has also been touted. However, it seems that they might not have the finances to pull that one-off.
Mikel Arteta certainly has his priorities set for transfer across the pitch, but certainly, his defensive worries are clear as day. What the new boss does during the transfer window remains to be seen.