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Claude Puel slams Arsenal over William Saliba treatment

Claude Puel slams Arsenal over William Saliba treatment
© Reuters
Saint-Etienne manager Claude Puel questions why Arsenal did not allow William Saliba, who is yet to make his Gunners debut, leave on loan for the current campaign.

Saint-Etienne manager Claude Puel has criticised Arsenal over their treatment of former Verts defender William Saliba.

The teenage protege officially arrived in North London this summer after spending the 2019-20 campaign back on loan at Saint-Etienne, but Saliba is yet to pull on the Gunners shirt for a competitive fixture and has been left out of Mikel Arteta's squad for their upcoming Europa League matches.

The Frenchman was tipped to go out on loan again for the current season but a move failed to materialise in the most recent transfer window, and Saliba's former manager Puel has hit out at Arsenal over the saga surrounding the 19-year-old.

Speaking to L'Equipe, Puel said: "It was short-term [thinking], even for the kids. A superb player like William, to whom I wish the best, has not even made it to Arsenal's Europa League squad. Where is the logic, if not financial?

"He had a great desire to join us. The club are a bit like family and friends [to him]. His adaptation would have been instant.

"This would have happened if all the conditions had met. It had to remain consistent with our finances and his contract, particularly for the management."

Saliba's solitary appearance in an Arsenal shirt came in a pre-season friendly victory over MK Dons, with the likes of Gabriel, Rob Holding and David Luiz all currently preferred by Arteta in the heart of defence.

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Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba, on loan from Arsenal, pictured in February 2020
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