William Saliba was signed from Saint Etienne for a fee of £27 million in 2019 by former Arsenal coach Unai Emery. Saliba was then sent back to Saint Etienne for a season to continue with his development. However, Ligue 1 season was cut short by Coronavirus pandemic. Saliba returned to Arsenal after his loan deal ended.
Saliba did not play any game for the senior team with his major appearances coming for Gunners coming from the under 23's team. When the January transfer window was opened, Saliba joined Ligue 1 side OGC Nice for the remainder of the season.
When Saliba joined OGC Nice, they were in relegation zone and after playing just 10 games OGC Nice are 10th in the Ligue 1. A loan deal was probably the best decision for the 19 year old French defender who has been a key player for OGC Nice.
Saliba himself admitted that he was not ready when he joined the Gunners after his loan deal ended last summer.David Luiz has also been in a great form this season and it would have been difficult for Saliba to break into the first team. Sitting on the bench without playing would have greatly affected his development. It was therefore necessary to send the youngster out on loan to get playing time.
Saliba is a very talented player with great potential who will surely succeed at Emirates.
Arteta has struggled to find balance in his defense and Saliba's return would give him more options at the back. Saliba will return to Arsenal in June when his loan deal at OGC Nice ends and is expected to be a key member in Mikel Arteta's defense next season.