Arsenal have tonight confirmed that young centre-back William Saliba has joined French club Nice on loan for the rest of the season.
The 19-year-old, who arrived at the Emirates Stadium during the summer after remaining at former club Saint Etienne on loan last season, has returned to France in the hope of securing more first-team football.
Saliba was tipped to become a mainstay in Mikel Arteta’s defensive line this season, but the youngster is still waiting to be handed his senior debut, with him not having played for Arsenal in the Premier League, Europa League or Carabao Cup.
On the decision to send Saliba out on loan for the remainder of the campaign, Arsenal technical director Edu told the club’s website: “William Saliba is a player with a huge amount of talent and potential. We’re confident he will have a great career with us but we must remember that he is still only 19 years old and has a lot of time ahead of him.
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“William experienced a very challenging time last year, with his playing time limited by injury and the early ending of the Ligue 1 season due to the pandemic.
“So together with William, we have decided that spending the rest of the season on loan with Nice is the best way for him to develop. We will be keeping in close contact with William during his time with Nice and look forward to seeing him make good progress until the end of the season.”
With Arsenal having struggled for form earlier this season, a number of supporters had been urging Arteta, who watched his side cruise to a 4-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday evening, to hand Saliba an opportunity to impress, with the Frenchman having arrived in north London with no shortage of expectancy on his shoulders.
However, Saliba has not once been handed a chance by Arteta, meaning he now has the opportunity to prove his worth back in his…