One thing about the majority of the Arsenal fanbase is we are quick to react to news – be it rumours or bona fide truths.
The latest whisper emanating from our club is that promising youngster William Saliba is set to go back out on loan after failing to set the world alight at Arsenal – or that is how the stories are being written.
The truth is that, far from being not up to the grade – circumstances have not been kind to Saliba and the Frenchman is far from being written out of Arteta’s plans.
A fair amount of Gooners have seen that instead of vying for the first team, Saliba is being left out of matchday squads altogether. Couple this with the rumours and this has left many Gooners being of the opinion that Saliba was overhyped.
If we dig deeper though, we can see quite clearly what has happened and why, if Saliba does go out on loan, that it makes the best sense to do so.
Firstly, Saliba is still 19. The boy isn’t even fully grown and at 19, mentality is not the strongest suit. It still needs to be built up, many things need to be learned. Leaving his home country was always going to need some acclimatisation and training with the first team before gaining first team football makes complete sense.
Secondly, the kid’s mother has recently passed away. So while he is in another country, a huge part of his support network has left him.
There are suggestions that Saliba will go back to France should he be sent out on loan, and that would help both the player and Arsenal. Saliba could be closer to his family when he needs them most, and slowly get back to his football, one step at a time.
Making the jump up from half a season of Ligue Un football to the higher echelons of the Premier League was always a jump that would take time – now that will just take a little longer.
Saliba set expectations high because of his improbable performances for Saint Etienne. His tackling average was amongst the highest in the competition and his maturity and athleticism marked him out for greatness.
He still possesses these ingredients, but sometimes we forget that players are human too – and at 19 things are tougher than when you have a decade of experience behind you, both in life and on the pitch.
Saliba will still make the grade at Arsenal – but doubting him when he needs our support won’t exactly help either.