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Arsenal chief Edu explains decision to loan William Saliba to Nice

The teenage defender is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Gunners (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal have confirmed William Saliba’s loan move to Ligue 1 side Nice though technical director Edu insists the young defender still has a big future with the Gunners.

The 19-year-old will return to France for the rest of the 2020/21 season having failed to make a first-team appearance for Arsenal, with a proposed summer loan back to Saint-Etienne having collapsed at the last minute.

Despite arriving at Arsenal for a big fee and with a big reputation, Saliba struggled to adapt to life in England and failed to convince manager Mikel Arteta he was deserving of a run in the side.

The 19-year-old has played a handful of games for Arsenal’s Under-21 side (Picture: Getty)

However, Edu is adamant that Saliba is still highly thought of at Arsenal and will have a successful career at the club, with the loan move designed to give him some much-needed playing time.

‘William Saliba is a player with a huge amount of talent and potential,’ explained Edu after Saliba’s loan move was confirmed.

‘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.

More: Arsenal FC

‘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.

Arsenal feel Saliba is in need of a consistent run of matches (Picture: Getty Images)

‘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.’

Nice have struggled this season and currently sit in 12th place in the Ligue 1 table, with Patrick Vieira sacked last year, and Arsenal are believed to have been given assurances that Saliba will feature prominently over the remainder of the campaign.


MORE : Rio Ferdinand hails Gabriel Martinelli as Arsenal’s best young player and slams ‘waste of money’ transfer signing William Saliba


MORE : Arsenal willing to offer two players in bid to sign Emiliano Buendia

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