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Mikel Arteta says William Saliba could leave Arsenal in January and admits he is as unhappy as the defender about his current situation in north London.
The Gunners’ boss was responding to reports from France that Saliba is ‘fed up’ with his lack of football in north London.
The £25 million ($32m)signing from Saint-Etienne joined in 2019 before returning to his former club and spending the 2019-20 campaign on loan in France.
Saliba was expected to play a key role this season, however, with many believing he and Gabriel Magalhaes, who arrived from Lille in the summer, would go on to form a new-look centre-back partnership under Arteta.
But the 19-year-old has yet to make a senior appearance, despite Arsenal suffering a catalogue of injuries at centre-back, and has not even been registered to play in the Europa League group stages.
It had looked like he would return to Saint-Etienne for another loan spell, only for the deal to fall through on deadline day, and Arteta admits the situation is far from ideal.
“I am fed up with the situation because as you could see we tried to find a way in the last few days of the transfer window to give him some football.
“I explained that he needed that transition year when we decided to buy him and send him on loan to Saint-Etienne, for many reasons that didn’t happen, he didn’t have that transition year and he needs to go through that.
“At the moment, with the amount of central defenders that we have in the team we had to leave him out of the squad which is painful because we have some injuries and we could have used him, but it’s part of this profession.”
When asked whether a loan move in January was a possibility, the Arsenal boss added: “Yes.
“We certainly tried in the last few days of the transfer window to find the right club and we had it, but at the end of the day we could not make it.