Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta changes William Saliba transfer plan despite Europa League snub

Arsenal defender William Saliba is set to stay at the club until January at least, according to reports. Saliba was expected to be part of the Arsenal first-team this season following his £30million move from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019. The 19-year-old was loaned back to the French club last season before arriving at the Gunners this summer.

However, Saliba did not get the experience in Ligue 1 that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta wanted.

The teenager made just 12 league appearances last term, firstly due to injury and then because the coronavirus pandemic ended the French campaign early.

Saliba has not yet made a first-team appearance for Arsenal despite David Luiz, Pablo Mari and Shkodran Mustafi missing games through injury already this season.

Arteta was open to letting the centre-back go back out on loan but Saint-Etienne failed to get a deal over the line before last Monday’s deadline.

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Saliba has been left out of Arsenal’s Europa League squad and has been linked with a move to the Championship, with the domestic window open until this Friday.

But The Athletic now report Saliba is set to stay with Arsenal for the time being.

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He is likely to be named in the Gunners’ Premier League squad, which is set to be confirmed on October 20.

With Luiz now fit, and Mari and Mustafi nearing a return, Saliba is likely to fall further down the pecking order under Arteta.

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Arteta explained last month why Saliba had not played a single minute so far this season.

“For many reasons, that wasn’t the transition year that he needed because he had a lot of injuries, some personal issues and also with Covid and the French league getting cancelled, he didn’t have that year,” Arteta said.

“He needs that year of transition and we are trying to make the right decisions for him to give him the best transitional year to have the player we want in our future.”

Arsenal have won three of their opening four Premier League games of the season.

Arteta’s side visit Manchester City this Saturday, looking for their first win away to one of the ‘big six’ since victory at the Etihad in January 2015.

Arsenal could hand a debut to deadline day signing Thomas Partey following his £45m move from Atletico Madrid.

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