Mikel Arteta has suggested that William Saliba may be back in action for Arsenal during their match against Liverpool this Sunday, while also verifying that Bukayo Saka is in optimal shape.
Defender’s Potential Return
The Arsenal defender has been absent for the previous two matches due to a back injury sustained during a Europa League match against Sporting CP. However, in his pre-match press conference on Friday, Arteta hinted that the central defender might have a chance to participate in the upcoming Anfield match this weekend.
When discussing the latest Arsenal team news, the Arsenal head coach said, “No real changes with the rest of the players that were still injured. We have some hope with one of them who will maybe be able to train, but we’ll see.” He also confirmed that Saka has fully recovered from the illness that kept him on the bench during the Leeds game.
Although Arteta did not specifically mention William Saliba as the potential returning player, it is improbable that it could be anyone else, given the nature of the injuries his other currently unavailable players are dealing with.
Injured Players’ Status
Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny are both confirmed to be sidelined for the remainder of the season. While Eddie Nketiah is making progress with his ankle injury, it is unlikely that the striker will be ready to return for the Liverpool match on Sunday.
In a previous statement, Arteta expressed optimism that William Saliba would be able to play again before the season concludes. He explained that back injuries can be tricky and depend on how they evolve with the load placed on specific areas. Both the Arsenal head coach and the defender are hopeful for a return to the team.
Upcoming Liverpool Match
Arsenal will face Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, aiming to preserve their lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League standings.
Early Career Success
William Saliba emerged as a promising talent in his early years. Born on March 24, 2001, in Bondy, France, he began his football journey with the youth academy of AS Bondy. He later moved to FC Montfermeil before eventually joining Saint-Etienne’s youth system in 2016. Saliba showcased his exceptional defensive abilities and caught the attention of many top European clubs.
Saliba’s rise to prominence came during his time at Saint-Etienne. He made his debut for the Ligue 1 club on September 25, 2018, against Toulouse, and quickly established himself as a regular in the first team. Throughout the 2018-2019 season, he made 16 league appearances and helped his team secure a fourth-place finish. His commanding presence and exceptional reading of the game made him a fan favorite.
Arsenal’s Big Investment
Recognizing his immense potential, Arsenal signed Saliba in July 2019 for a reported fee of around £27 million. However, as part of the deal, he was loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-2020 season. During that season, he played 12 league matches and continued to impress with his performances. Unfortunately, injuries limited his playing time, and he missed several crucial games.
Loan Spells to Gain Experience
Upon his return to Arsenal, William Saliba found it challenging to break into the first team. The club decided that the best course of action was to send him on loan to ensure regular playing time and further development. In January 2021, he joined Ligue 1 side OGC Nice on loan for the remainder of the season. During his time with Nice, he made 20 league appearances and demonstrated his ability to compete at a high level.
In the 2021-2022 season, Saliba was loaned to Marseille, another Ligue 1 club, to gain even more experience. Once again, he proved his worth by putting up solid performances and becoming an essential part of the team’s defense.
A Promising Future
Throughout his career, William Saliba displayed great potential and a strong work ethic. His performances in Ligue 1 and during his loan spells demonstrated his ability to adapt and compete at the highest level. Despite facing challenges and setbacks, he remained committed to his development and continuously improved as a player. With a promising future ahead, Saliba’s past performances serve as a testament to his talent and determination.