Coming into the week, there was plenty of reason to believe that Arsenal were working out a way to find Saliba a home for the year to further his development.
Quickly that seemed to take a complete U-turn and it was suggested that Saliba would stay with Arsenal at least until January.
With the window closing on October 16th, a move would need to be made now. People have been looking for a little bit of clarification surrounding Arenal’s exciting defensive prospect. It has become clear that there are reasons Arteta and staff may believe he isn’t quite ready to take over the role of right center back on a regular basis, but is it to the point where he would benefit from a loan? And, if loaned, where to?
In today’s press conference with Arteta, Mikel’s response was short and resounding.
Does he expect players to go on loan? “Not at the moment.”
Will Saliba be staying? “Yes.”
In my opinion, thats positive news. While I agree Saliba could benefit from match time, I also believe he could benefit from a good amount of time to bed into London, work with Arsenal’s staff, acclimate with the climate and the team, and put down roots. This can happen and still see him be loaned in January to get match minutes. This would allow him a little more security in knowing London Colney is his future home, without making him feel nomadic by spending his first two full seasons with Arsenal, not at Arsenal.
However, to make this worth it, I personally hope we begin seeing him play more minutes with Arsenal’s U23 side. He can train with the first team, work with Arteta and company, but people are right, minutes matter. It may not quite be Premier League competition, but it can help keep him sharp. He didn’t make the Europa League registration, so those minutes against Dundalk or Rapid Wien are out, but he could really benefit from time on the field.
Looking forward to his growth over the next 4 years.