William Saliba joins Nice on loan until the end of the season

Arsenal defender William Saliba is back in France, joining Ligue 1 club Nice on loan until the end of the season.

The 19-year-old center-back was signed from Saint-Etienne 18 months ago, but has yet to make an appearance for the Gunners, despite costing the club somewhere in the region of $ 27million. pound sterling.

He spent last season on loan with his former club to gain more experience, but was unable to work his way into Mikel Arteta’s plans – leading Arsenal to confirm he will return to France in view of playing in the regular first team. Soccer.

Sporting director Edu told the club’s website: “William Saliba is a player with a tremendous amount of talent and potential. We are convinced that he will have a great career with us, but we have to remember that he is still only 19 years old and has a lot of time ahead of him.

“William had a very difficult time last year, with his playing time limited by injury and the early end of the Ligue 1 season due to the pandemic.

“So with William we decided that spending the rest of the season on loan with Nice is the best way for him to develop. We will remain in close contact with William during his time in Nice and look forward to seeing him make good progress until the end of the season. “

Youri Tielemans, Wesley Fofana
Former teammate Fofana shines brightly at Leicester | Michael Regan / Getty Images

Saliba’s inability to work his way into Arteta’s thinking is in stark contrast to former team-mate Wesley Fofana, whose stock grows sharply after his transfer to Leicester. He already looks at home in the Premier League, settling alongside Jonny Evans in the heart of the defense to propel the Foxes into the top three.

Arsenal are still hoping Saliba will grow up to be a player of considerable talent, but this latest adventure back home was far from planned when he returned to Emirates Stadium last summer.