Mikel Arteta insists William Saliba needs more time to ‘transition’ following his move to the club after the defender was left out of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup win against Liverpool.
The Frenchman is yet to make his debut for the club following his £28million arrival from St Etienne and supporters are growing increasingly impatient to watch the defender in action.
While it’s understandable that Arteta was unwilling to throw Saliba in at the deep end by fielding him in the Premier League, Thursday’s Carabao Cup clash against Liverpool looked to be the perfect chance to give the 19-year-old his first minutes in an Arsenal shirt.
However, Saliba was not named in Arsenal’s 18-man squad for the game at Anfield, leaving supporters bemused as the wait to see him in action goes on.
And Arteta has suggested fans will have to be patient to see Saliba in action as he needs a year to settle at the club.
‘He had year last where Arsenal essentially loaned him to Saint-Etienne and that was a transition year for him,’ said Arteta.
‘For many reasons, that wasn’t the transition year that he needed because he had a lot of injuries, he had some personal issues and obviously with COVID and the French league getting cancelled, he didn’t have that year, so he needs that year of transition.
‘He needs that year of transition and we are trying to make the right decisions for him to make the best possible year of transition for him to have the player we want for our future.’
After beating Leicester in the previous round, it’s another difficult draw for Arsenal and Arteta admits it will be another ‘massive challenge’.
‘I was enjoying the victory in the dressing room and I got the news,’ said Arteta.
‘Another massive challenge for us but we’re not getting very lucky with the draws at the moment. But we’ll prepare [for] the game and try to win of course.’