Saliba makes Arsenal recall claim and details surprise at reaction from fans

Arsenal defender William Saliba has revealed Mikel Arteta attempted to recall him from his loan weeks after replacing Unai Emery.

The 19-year-old was signed by the Gunners in the summer of 2019, before being sent back on loan to St Etienne for the duration of the 2019-20 season.

Unfortunately, Saliba struggled for game time back in France, before Ligue 1 was prematurely suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That lack of football meant that Arteta was unwilling to offer him a chance  instead leaving him out of his squads for the opening months of the season.

Saliba completed a loan move to Nice in the January window, where he will hope to force his way into Arteta’s plans for next term.

But in a candid interview, the centre back has claimed the Gunners tried to cut his last loan spell short and didn’t expect to be given such short shirft on his return.

“[Arsenal] wanted me to come back in January [2020], I didn’t, I stayed in St Étienne,” he told L’Equipe via GFFN.

“After that, the fans were really looking forward to my arrival, I certainly didn’t imagine that it would happen like this.

“Aside from that, it is football, I have learned that nothing is certain, you can be there, in your game, and then things can go south. I took a lot of experience from it, at least I will be ready for the future.”

His return to France has got off to the best possible start, winning the Ligue 1 club’s player of the month for January.

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  • “I feel very good, I was very nicely welcomed from the first day,” he added. “This is a wonderful town, a good club, very good facilities. 

    “This is a very good club, that we know is always towards the top of the table.

    “There is very big ambition here, I like the way they play, their possession play. The best option was to come to OGC Nice.”

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