Bacary Sagna has claimed Arsenal were smart to send William Saliba on loan to Nice in Ligue 1, claiming it was not a punishment.
Having returned from his loan spell with boyhood club Saint-Etienne last summer, the defender didn’t feature in the first half of the season before his move back to his native country.
Speaking to Goal, the former Gunners defender backed the 20-year-old ace can still make a big impact for the north London club.
Sagna said: “I still have trust in him, I think he is a good player and he can adapt to Arsenal because I’ve seen him play many times. He is doing well at Nice and has probably been their best player. At that age, you need to be playing. He has big potential and in France, people know it.”
“Sending him away is not a bad thing, it’s not a punishment. To me, it’s clever to send him [on loan] rather than him being on the bench or not even being in the squad.”
Should Arsenal sell William Saliba this summer?
With Saliba having been a big investment for the club, throwing it all away before he gets an attempt to prove himself would be incredibly stupid. There were reports back in December 2020 that the club were looking to get rid of the talented youngster before he’d even kick a ball for the first-team.
However, Sagna’s c0mments about the 20-year-old’s development during his time with Nice provides encouragement over his long-term future at the club.
His performances in recent months have been sensational with the ace winning the player of the month award back in January.
Arsenal are still yet to extend the contract of David Luiz, whose current deal runs out at the end of this season. They also saw the departures of Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis in January, making Saliba an even more important component ahead of the next campaign.
There’s still a big future for the emerging talent, who has been compared to the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Raphael Varane. The handling of him in the early months of this season have left a lot of be desired and after showing his talents in his homeland, you’d expect him to make a bigger impact next season.