Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is not ruling out a loan move for William Saliba in the January transfer window.
The Frenchman is yet to make his debut for the club following a £27million move from St Etienne.
Saliba arrived with a promising reputation and given Arsenal’s defensive record, he was expected to become an instant regular at the Emirates.
However, the defender has had to be patient as Arteta does not feel he’s ready to step into the first team and he’s been forced to play with the U23s.
Saliba was sent off on Tuesday night after making his return from injury with the U23s and though Arteta believes he’s made progress in the last six months, he’s not ruling out sending the defender on loan in January.
Asked whether the club will keep Saliba or loan him in January, Arteta said: ‘It’s something what we are discussing at the moment what’s the best thing for us to do and it will be decided in the next few weeks.’
Pushed further on when supporters can expect to see Saliba back in action, Arteta said there is a ‘pathway’ for the defender to become a first team regular.
‘Whenever we have the spaces and we believe that he is ready to play with us,’ said Arteta.
‘To be fair he has made massive improvements in the last few months. It’s a really tricky situation for him. But as I’ve mentioned before, we designed a pathway for him but a lot of things happened to him in his personal life and professionally as well.
‘Now we made some steps forward. He is working really hard. It was a great game to watch yesterday as well because Gabriel Martinelli finally came back for 45 minutes, so I think it was a really positive day for us in terms of that.’
Thomas Partey lasted just 44 minutes in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham after his return from a thigh injury.
Arteta was reluctant to put a time frame on the Ghanaian’s absence but says he will miss the ‘next few matches’.