William Saliba says lack of Arsenal game time 'hurt him'

William Saliba has admitted that his lack of playing time at Arsenal 'hurt him' as he settles into his loan with Ligue 1's Nice.

Saliba joined the Gunners in summer 2019 before being immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne where he impressed last season. The Frenchman finally linked up with his Arsenal teammates at the beginning of the current campaign, however, he did not feature at all for the first team, before being sent to the south of France earlier this month.

Since returning to his homeland, the 19-year-old has made four Ligue 1 appearances and in a recent interview for Telefoot 1 (via football.london) he opened up about his frustrating time under Mikel Arteta's management.

"I really, really, really didn’t think that I would be transferred for €30m," he said.

"To think that I would arrive, where people were expecting a lot from me, the fans excited about me and you find yourself in the reserves, play zero - nothing in the Europa League or the [Premier] League.

"I was in the squad once in the League Cup. It hurt me, it affected me. I don’t think I left too early. When you feel ready you have to go. These things happen. I believe in myself."

Saliba only ever played for the Under 23s at Arsenal this season | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Saliba is still under contract at the Emirates Stadium until 2024, but when questioned he failed to rule out a move away from north London in the near future.

"I don’t know," he said. "I have learned now that it is better not to look too far in the future.
I am focused on just these six months to try to give absolutely everything and for the rest we will see."

Saliba could be joined through the exit door by Ainsley Maitland-Niles before the transfer window closes. West Brom, Newcastle and Leicester are all thought to be interested in taking him on loan, with the winger struggling for consistent playing time.

Source : 90min