Edu opens up on Saliba’s "challenging" time at Arsenal after loan move confirmed

Arsenal chief Edu Gaspar has admitted that William Saliba has had a difficult time at the club so far.

But he is convinced the 19-year-old centre-back will go on to become a huge success for the Gunners in the future.

Despite big things being expected of him this season Saliba has yet to make a first-team appearance for Arsenal, and sealed a loan move to Nice for the rest of the campaign on Monday.

Speaking about the move, Edu lifted the lid on his thinking behind allowing Saliba to leave.

"William Saliba is a player with a huge amount of talent and potential," he said.

"We’re confident he will have a great career with us but we must remember that he is still only 19 years old and has a lot of time ahead of him.

"William experienced a very challenging time last year, with his playing time limited by injury and the early ending of the Ligue 1 season due to the pandemic.

"So together with William, we have decided that spending the rest of the season on loan with Nice is the best way for him to develop."

Arsenal will be hoping he gets valuable first-team minutes in Ligue 1 and will be able to return to have a big effect next season.

Nice currently sit in 12th place in the table and Saliba is expected to slot straight into their starting 11.

The French side will pay Saliba's wages in full but will not have to hand over any loan fee.

This season has seen Gunners manager Mikel Arteta use a plethora of centre-backs at the heart of his defence, as the Spaniard has chopped and changed between using a flat back four and a central defensive trio.

Gabriel has been the undoubted first choice, alongside a host of partners, while most recently Rob Holding and Pablo Mari have struck up a solid partnership in Arsenal's three-match unbeaten run.

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