William Saliba has suggested that he was written off too quickly by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and believes the Spanish coach judged him ‘on two-and-a-half games’.
The 19-year-old defender moved to the Emirates in a £27 million deal from Saint-Etienne but after making the move last summer, he failed to make a first-team appearance under Arteta.
The Arsenal head coach claimed that Saliba needed to go through a ‘transition’ period in order to become a regular in the first-team.
And only last month Arteta gave the green light for William Saliba to join Ligue 1 side Nice on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
‘It’s clear that a lot has changed in the last year,’ Saliba told RMC. ‘When I saw the coach changed a lot changed for me too. In this year there has been a lot of change.
‘He judged me on two-and-a-half games. I would have liked for him [Arteta] to play me more. But he told me I wasn’t ready. ‘I was waiting for him to give me a chance, but football is like that.
‘When I initially came to Arsenal the league looked very good so I showed up to training and wanted to train on my own to show the coach I was ready.
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‘I am happy now, I want to play for Nice. The idea when you’re part of a team is a better feeling for me.’
However, Saliba also claimed that Arsenal wanted him to cut short his loan last campaign. He told L’Equipe via GFFN: “They wanted me to come back in January, I didn’t, I stayed in St Étienne.
“After that, the fans were really looking forward to my arrival, I certainly didn’t imagine that it would happen like this.
“Aside from that, it is football, I have learned that nothing is certain, you can be there, in your game, and then things can go south. I took a lot of experience from it, at least I will be ready for the future.”