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

No way out

It has been reported that Arsenal’s 19-year-old French defender William Saliba is set to be named in the Gunners’ Premier League squad.

This comes a week after a loan move to St. Etienne fell through, leaving the youngster without guaranteed football. Arsenal are of course well stocked in the centre-back department, having failed to move on surplus squad members over the summer.

Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis and Calum Chambers were all linked with moves away from the Emirates, but, in the end, nothing materialised. This lack of income led to Arsenal’s Deadline Day deal to land Thomas Partey requiring investment from ownership.

Perhaps even more concerning, though, is the fact that Saliba has been left in a state of limbo. In need of game-time to continue his development, it appears that the Frenchman may now struggle to see time on the pitch.

He recently featured for Arsenal’s under-23s in a 2-2 draw with Brighton. As such, it may be that Saliba finds his development take place at youth level, until further first-team opportunities arise.

The stopper’s exclusion from Mikel Arteta’s Europa League squad means that he will not have the opportunity to feature against any of Dundalk, Rapid Vienna or Molde.

Defensive switch

Following Arsenal’s signing of Thomas Partey, there is an opportunity for Arteta to experiment with further formations.

The Ghanaian’s arrival adds defensive security in midfield.

Arsenal’s use of a back-3 led to key wins against Manchester City and Chelsea in the FA Cup last season. Kieran Tierney has occupied the left centre-back slot, with one of David Luiz or new signing Gabriel Magalhaes in the central position. Rob Holding has played consistently on the right.

Their last outing, against Sheffield United, however, saw a changed Arsenal side revert to a back-4. Ceballos, Elneny and Saka made up the midfield. Tierney, Gabriel, Luiz and Bellerin moulded the nostalgic backline.

Arsenal were more attacking than in previous fixtures, but also undoubtedly defensively vulnerable. Sheffield United’s late consolation highlighted this.

The hope will be that the club’s deadline day upgrade in midfield, though, will see a continuation of the more offensive framework enabled, without sacrificing too much on the other side of the ball.

See also: Arteta leaves out Saliba for League Cup clash with Leicester / Possible reasons behind Arteta’s reluctance to play Frenchman

Explanations provided as Martinez & Saliba left out vs Fulham/Pair of Arsenal stars in heated exchange during warm-up

This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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