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Mikel Arteta reveals why he didn’t speak to William Saliba for a week

Mikel Arteta and William Saliba have not always seen eye to eye.


William Saliba first joined Arsenal back in 2019. However, the Frenchman found his game time very limited in north London.

Saliba was not even playing in cup competitions under Arteta and was instead loaned out several times.

In fact, Saliba did not make a first-team appearance until this season for the Gunners.

And now, Mikel Arteta has been discussing Saliba’s journey so far and why he did not speak to the centre-back for a week:

“The first question was how the player is going to reintegrate into our dynamic after being out for so long,” said Arteta.

“Is there some frustration there, something personal between, for example, between me and the player because he could not understand that?

“Or his environment, his expectations coming back or the amount that we paid for him, his age, is it the same to do it in France as it is to do it in this League for Arsenal because you don’t have 21-year-old defenders at the top level in England?

“There were a lot of question marks and he went with all of them, ticking them off and giving us every reason to be confident that he was a great player for us.”

Arteta added: “For the first week I didn’t speak to him. I just wanted to see – naturally, without me really interfering in his thoughts – how he was. Because then you can understand the real him and after that I spoke to him.

“His attitude, the way he came in and said: ‘I’m going to prove that I’m very good and I deserve to be here.’

“Without any looking back or being shy, he was doing it the right way and giving the right reasons to think that he was going to be really good for us.

“He had an immediate impact. The first two training sessions that we looked at home we went: ‘There’s huge potential here’.

“He took out every question mark that we could have with him and gave us all the reasons to play him. And I think he’s been exceptional since that day.”

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Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.


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