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Former Arsenal stopper Sagna backs Gunners over William Saliba situation

Former Arsenal stopper Sagna backs Gunners over William Saliba situation

 

Ex-Arsenal star Bacary Sagna has provided his take on the oft-discussed situation of Gunners youngster William Saliba.

Allianz Riviera stint

French starlet Saliba has of course spent the last couple of months plying his trade in Ligue 1, with Les Aiglons.

This comes with the 19-year-old having endured an altogether disappointing opening half to the campaign in north London, during which he was restricted to outings with Arsenal’s youth sides.

Saliba has since, though, gone on to enjoy a solid stint back in his home country.

The former Saint-Etienne man has quickly established himself as a mainstay in Nice’s backline, forming an encouraging partnership with fellow loanee Jean-Clair Todibo.

Former Arsenal stopper Sagna backs Gunners over William Saliba situation

Nice’s French defender William Saliba (L) is challenged by Metz’s French forward Thierry Ambrose during the French L1 football match between Football Club de Metz and OGC Nice at the Saint-Symphorien Stadium in Longeville-Les-Metz, eastern France on January 9, 2021. (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP) (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

All told, Saliba has notched 14 appearances across all competitions, including 12 Ligue 1 starts.

‘Need to be playing’

The young stopper’s fine form back in France, though, has done little to quell the constant chatter surrounding Arsenal’s treatment of Saliba.

Many remain of the opinion that the teen should have been handed the opportunity to impress as part of Mikel Arteta’s first-team squad over the opening half of the campaign, with the club having been overly harsh in their treatment of a potential star in the making.

One individual evidently not of such an opinion, however, is former Gunners defender Bacary Sagna.

Ex-French international Sagna was drawn on the subject of Saliba’s stint in north London during an interview with Goal this week.

And the 38-year-old went on to back his former employers, assuring that sending a player of Saliba’s age and ability on loan is simply ‘not a punishment’:

‘I’m not surprised because he has joined the best league in the world. Being good in France is totally different to proving himself in the Premier League.’

‘I still have trust in him, I think he is a good player and he can adapt to Arsenal because I’ve seen him play many times.’

‘He is doing well at Nice and has probably been their best player. At that age you need to be playing. He has big potential and in France people know it.’

‘Sending him away is not a bad thing, it’s not a punishment. To me it’s clever to send him [on loan] rather than him being on the bench or not even being in the squad.’

 

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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