Saliba “descision” was never his to make – Now he needs to integrate himself into Arteta’s squad

So by now we all would have absorbed the William Saliba interview. Despite him staying he wishes to remain at Arsenal, I am still conflicted.

For a start, I have always wanted Saliba to make it at Arsenal.

He is clearly a talented central defender and has a bright future in the game.

At just 21-years-old, Arsenal have taken his development slow; deciding to loan him to to get consistent game time.

Due to personal issues and Covid19, the season just finished was his first full season of senior football.

Playing 52 games as Marseille finished runners-up has done his football education the world of good. Saliba won the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year and was named in the Team of the Year. He has also been capped for France.

He now returns to Arsenal as one of the biggest prospects in football. It is easy to forget that he has only recently turned 21.

With European football back in Islington next year, we need 3 top central defenders.

Ben White and Gabriel will start the season as first choice. Saliba will be cover on both sides. All 3 will probably start at least 30 games across all competitions.

The catch-22 is I am unsure about Saliba’s attitude.

Why did he need an interview to let the world know of “his decision”?

With 2-years left on his Arsenal contract, where he ended up next season was not down to him. It was down to Arsenal.

By deciding to let the world know of his decision stinks of a player with a huge ego.

Everyone remembers LeBron James and The Decision back in 2010.

As a free agent, LeBron was the decided to announce who he would be joining in a drawn out television special.

In a 75 minute show, he eventually announced he would be joining Miami Heat, rather than returning to his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

the programme got a lot of criticism for being self-indulgent. But LeBron was a global superstar so it drew in the television figures.

Antoine Griezmann, who is a huge basketball fan, followed in LeBron’s footsteps by making a 30-minute documentary which culminated in him announcing he would stay at Atletico Madrid following huge speculation that he would be off to Barcelona. A year later he joined the Catalan club.

For Saliba to release an interview announcing his future is very worrying. It shows an arrogance of a man who has not yet really achieved anything in football.

Considering Mikel Arteta has worked hard to remove all the ego’s from the squad – the players who thought they were bigger than the club – Saliba’s behaviour could make him an outlier.

The squad Arteta is building is filled with young, hungry, humble players all pulling together as one. No one is putting themselves above anyone else. Playing the big “I am”. Saliba has done just that.

Ultimately, it will be down to Arteta where Saliba ends up.

We have seen with Matteo Guendouzi that Arteta puts personality and attitude on a high pedestal

If Saliba decides not to curb himself. Decides to not do what Arteta demands. And continues to display his ego, then he has no future at the club.

If the boss can whip him into shape and integrate him into the squad then we have a very fine player on out hands.

Remember, no player is bigger or more important than Arsenal Football Club.

Final thought: The “I belong to Arsenal” quote is worrying. Does he want to play for Arsenal? Or have we just told him he can not leave. And with Marseille on a transfer ban, that door is slammed shut. Maybe all this is rubbish and Edu has basically told him (and his representatives) that he is not going to leave the club?



2 thoughts on “Saliba “descision” was never his to make – Now he needs to integrate himself into Arteta’s squad

  1. Ad

    This is a great article and I have mentioned this before to people.
    He has been very vocal since he joined Arsenal. Confidence is one thing but throughout a season there is always something from him. Griezmann is a great example , that cringe video he did , he automatically made the barca fans dislike him even if he did join the club the following year

    Teams like liverpool and city are successful on and off the pitch as the players buy into what the club is wanting to achieve and what the manager wants. Yes they compete so the players who are squad players are more content even if they get less game time .

    With saliba we will give him a new contract but I cant see him being at Arsenal for longer than 3 years even if we are successful. Even if he becomes a starter or someone like white or gabriel is sold he will be vocal when he hears reports of someone like PSG, city or madrid interested in him. I could be wrong but if we can extend his contract and give him game time it will keep him quiet for a year or so.

    The other issue is – will he disrupt the harmony in the group. Arteta is building a team ethic in the group, can someone like him actually be disruptive.


  2. Robert Parker

    “Why did he need an interview to let the world know of “his decision”?”

    Gee, who would have thought that the young player of the year would have been asked about his future and answered…

    “The catch-22 is I am unsure about Saliba’s attitude.”
    The catch-22 is I am unsure why you insinuate that Saliba initiated this interview and likened it to two examples which were totally different.

    Liked by 1 person


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