Saliba spotted with Arsenal first-team squad and could be in line for inclusion vs Leicester City

Saliba spotted with Arsenal first-team squad and could be in line for inclusion vs Leicester City

Patiently waiting

William Saliba’s Arsenal story has ranged from raging Saint-Etienne manager Claude Puel failing with a Deadline Day loan bid to Mikel Arteta’s desperation to ensure that the 19-year old is afforded the pivotal development year he needs.

Having not played a single minute of senior competitive football for the Gunners, Saliba has instead featured for the club’s under-23 side on a couple of occasions. Arteta has always been keen to reiterate the need to manage the Frenchman’s situation carefully:

“He had a year last year where Arsenal loaned him to St Etienne and that was a transition year for him,” the Gunners boss said.

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

Yet, Saliba has featured heavily for Arsenal in their marketing campaigns. For the launch of the club’s white away kit, he was pictured in a computer-generated portrait. And in the latest Adidas link-up, for Pharrell Williams’ human race alternative kit launch, Saliba was again involved, speaking to Ian Wright:

Incoming?

Arsenal fans have been tentatively waiting for Saliba to be afforded first-team minutes, and that could occur this weekend. Not included in the Gunners’ under-23 squad who faced Manchester City, Saliba was instead pictured training with the senior squad ahead of Leicester’s arrival on Sunday.

Arsenal’s defensive situation has improved in recent days, following the return of the injured Shkodran Mustafi, and confirmation that Pablo Mari is just 10 days away from full training. However, the £27 million fee splashed out on Saliba suggests that Arsenal will want to integrate the youngster sooner rather than later.

Having now been spotted training with the club’s first-team, Saliba could indeed be on the bench for Sunday’s match.

Arsenal’s meeting with Leicester City is set to kick off at 7:15pm UK time.

See also: Saliba set to stay with Arsenal until at least January / What’s the potential impact?

Saint-Etienne blame Arsenal for William Saliba not returning on loan


This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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Premier League table
# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City FC 19 23 41
2 Manchester United FC 19 11 40
3 Leicester City FC 19 14 38
4 West Ham United FC 20 6 35
5 Liverpool FC 19 15 34
6 Tottenham Hotspur FC 18 16 33
7 Everton FC 17 7 32
8 Arsenal FC 20 6 30
9 Aston Villa FC 17 13 29
10 Chelsea FC 19 10 29
11 Southampton FC 19 3 29
12 Leeds United 19 -3 26
13 Crystal Palace FC 20 -12 23
14 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 19 -8 22
15 Burnley FC 18 -12 19
16 Newcastle United FC 20 -15 19
17 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 19 -7 17
18 Fulham FC 18 -12 12
19 West Bromwich Albion 20 -33 11
20 Sheffield United FC 19 -22 5
Premier League 20/21
Topscorers
Disciplinary
Assists
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 13
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 12
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 12
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 11
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 11
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 11
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 10
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 9
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 8
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 8
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 8
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 7
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 7
Gundogan, Ilkay Manchester City FC 7
Soucek, Tomas West Ham United FC 7
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 6
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City FC 6
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City FC 6