Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana has shared his delight at William Saliba’s loan move from Arsenal to Nice, declaring that his old teammate is ‘finally free’ after months on the sidelines.
The 19-year-old centre-back has returned to France until the end of the season after failing to make a single first-team appearance for Arsenal since linking up with the team in the summer.
Saliba cost £27million when he was signed by Arsenal back in 2019, staying on loan at Saint-Etienne for a season, but failed to impress Mikel Arteta when he returned.
He had been close to returning to the Ligue 1 side on loan over the summer but the deal fell through at the last minute, with Saliba unimpressed with how Arsenal pulled the plug.
The teenager was also prevented from playing in the French Cup final back in July so he could integrate more quickly with the Gunners, though was never given a chance in the Arsenal first team despite the back-line struggling.
Saliba came through Saint-Etienne’s academy with Leicester defender Fofana – who, by contrast, has enjoyed an excellent start to life in the Premier League – with the pair partnering each other last season.
The two are good friends and Fofana was delighted to see his old teammate finally getting a loan move and the chance for more regular first-team football.
Taking to Instagram after Saliba’s loan move to Nice was confirmed, Fofana wrote: ‘He’s finally free’ alongside a party emoji.
Although Saliba has endured a difficult start to life at Arsenal, the north London club still believe he can become an important player for them in the future and hope his time at Nice can help him regain form and sharpness.
Technical director Edu explained: ‘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.’
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