As relayed by the Mirror, William Saliba is desperate to leave Arsenal on loan in January in order to get regular first-team opportunities.
The Gunners signed the 19-year-old defender in the summer of 2019, paying a reported fee of £27 million – not a small amount for a player of that age with very little experience, even if his previous performances for Saint-Etienne were mature. A part of the agreement was a season-long loan back to the Ligue 1 side, which would have suited Arsenal fine had not the Covid-19 outbreak caused the season in France to be cut short, limiting Saliba’s number of appearances to just 12.
Saliba finally arrived to the Emirates this summer, but his maturity failed on its promise and manager Mikel Arteta judged it was too early for the youngster to be a part of his plans for 2020/21. He was therefore left out of the squad for the campaign, meaning he can now only play for the reserve team. Arteta recently revealed he was tired of all the questions about Saliba, and the club reportedly started contemplating a January loan move.
Now it seems the player is even more eager for that to happen than the club are, which is quite understandable. Saint-Etienne are once more in the frame; they would be willing to take him back for the second half of the season, but they cannot afford to pay his wages at the moment. Nonetheless, Saliba is so desperate to leave, that he would be willing to take a pay cut amounting up to £90,000 per month in order to secure a move.
It would certainly make sense for Arsenal to let Saliba go somewhere to play regularly, before reassessing the situation next summer. There is no point in keeping him around while he’s unable to contribute to Arteta’s team.