Premier League underachievers Arsenal paid £27m to bring William Saliba to the Emirates – though he is back on loan at Ligue 1 outfit St Etienne.
William Saliba made a rare mistake in St Etienne’s Ligue 1 draw with Bordeaux on Sunday and the Arsenal loanee did not escape a public dressing down by manager Claude Puel, in quotes reported by L’Equipe.
If an 18-year-old Frenchman lives up to his potential, the best defender at the Gunners’ disposal has not even made his debut for the North London giants yet.
Arsenal fought off competition from a host of clubs all over Europe to snap up teen sensation Saliba for a cool £27 million in June before loaning him back to St Etienne for the entirety of the 2019/20 campaign.
After a sluggish start to his second season with Les Verts, the France U20 international has found first-team football far easier to come by since former Southampton and Leicester City coach Puel took over at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard.
But it was his mistake which gifted Bordeaux the opener this weekend, Saliba misjudging a cross before ex-Sunderland youngster Josh Maja slammed home the opener.
“I would like to review the action of the Bordeaux goal because for me there is a fault on William Saliba,” said Puel, his displeasure creeping through those softly-spoken tones.
The result leaves St Etienne fourth bottom in the French top flight, just three points above the drop zone.
And the last thing Arsenal want is for Saliba to arrive with his reputation tainted by St Etienne’s first relegation in almost two decades.