William Saliba reveals Arsenal failed with loan recall last season

William Saliba is currently on loan at Nice after failing to make a breakthrough at Arsenal
William Saliba is currently on loan at Nice after failing to make a breakthrough at Arsenal (AFP via Getty)

William Saliba has revealed that Arsenal failed with an attempt to recall him from his loan at Saint-Etienne last season.

The 19-year-old was signed in a £27 million deal from Saint-Etienne in July 2019 but remained with the French club for the following season.

However, the defender has revealed that Arsenal were keen to speed to his integration by bringing him to the Premier League six months early.

Saliba remained in Ligue but was unable to make a breakthrough at Arsenal and the centre-back has now joined Nice for the remainder of the campaign.

‘They [Arsenal] wanted me to come back in January [last year], I didn’t, I stayed in St Etienne,’ Saliba told L’Equipe, via Get French Football.

‘After that, the fans were really looking forward to my arrival, I certainly didn’t imagine that it would happen like this. Aside from that, it is football, I have learned that nothing is certain, you can be there, in your game, and then things can go south. I took a lot of experience from it, at least I will be ready for the future.’

William Saliba has impressed since joining Nice on loan
William Saliba has impressed since joining Nice on loan (AFP via Getty)

Asked why his move to Arsenal has failed to work out, Saliba said: ‘There were a lot of factors I think because when they were finishing their league season, I was in quarantine at home, where I could only run one kilometre in my house.

‘And then there was this thing about the [Coupe de France] final, we didn’t know if I was going to be able to play or not.

‘What I mean is as soon as my contract finished here [at St Etienne], I wasn’t able to train until an agreement was found. That was for two weeks, I was not training, and the others had already started training again [at St Etienne].

‘After that, then I went over there at the end of July, they had one more week, so I was training all alone.

‘They came back from holidays two weeks later and I was still training by myself. When they came back I played in two friendlies, but I wasn’t ready, I hadn’t played for six months.

‘I had no preparation and to pick up rhythm, you need to play matches. The coach told me I wasn’t ready, I thought, ‘that’s normal, these were just two matches and I hadn’t played for six months’.

‘After that I waited for my chance, I waited for him to play me more to get a rhythm. But that’s football, it’s like that, it’s behind me and I took the experience.

‘At a big club like that, with very good players and coach, you learn a lot, because at training, there is very big intensity, you see how the players do things, there are great players who have won titles and been at the World Cup, so you are inspired by them, you see a bit what the highest level is like, even though I haven’t played.

‘It would have been better if I had played, but I have still learned a bit.’

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