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William Saliba says Arsenal’s lack of playing time ‘hurt’ him

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William Saliba admitted his lack of playing time at Arsenal “hurt” him as he moved into his loan with Nice Ligue 1.

Saliba joined the Gunners in the summer of 2019 before being immediately loaned to Saint-Etienne where he impressed last season. The Frenchman finally joined his Arsenal team-mates at the start of the current campaign, however, he was not in the first team at all, 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 spoke of his frustrating time under Mikel Arteta.

“I really, really, really didn’t think I would be transferred for € 30million,” he said.

“Thinking that I would get to where people expected a lot from me, the fans are excited about me and you end up in the reserves, playing zero – nothing in the Europa League or in [Premier] League.

“I was part of the team once in the Coupe de la Ligue. 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.”

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

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

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve learned now that it’s best not to look too far into the future.
I’m just focusing on these six months to try to give it my all and the rest we’ll see. “

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