Saliba Joins Nice On Loan

Arsenal has loaned centre back William Saliba to French Ligue 1 side OGC Nice for the rest of the season in a bid to give him more playing time, the Premier League club announced on Monday. Saliba, who was signed by Arsenal in July 2019 for about 27 million pounds ($36.59 million), spent last season on loan at St Etienne and has yet to make his debut for the Premier League club, with the 19-year-old only playing for the Under-21 side.

The France youth international was also left out of the club’s Europa League squad for the group stage. “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,” Arsenal’s technical director Edu said. “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.” Nice is 12th in the standings after 16 games and return from the league’s winter break with a game against Brest on Wednesday.

Nice will cover the centre-back’s wages and are not required to pay a loan fee. There is currently no provision for a permanent move, with Arsenal still determined that the 19-year-old has a future in north London. It has been a frustrating half-season for Saliba, who has been restricted to under-23 football after not being named in Mikel Arteta’s Premier League or Europa League squads. Arsenal had failed to secure him a loan move in September, although there were plenty of suitors, and will expect to see him develop with a view to competing for first-team football next season.

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