William Saliba: Mikel Arteta calls for calm amid Arsenal expectations
Saliba, whose season-long loan at Saint-Etienne was due to end today, will be allowed to play in the Coupe de France final in July
Last Updated: 01/07/20 9:46am
Mikel Arteta wants William Saliba's loan to be extended so he can play in the French Cup final, but warns against placing too much expectation on the Arsenal defender next season.
Saliba, 19, joined Arsenal for a fee in the region of £27m last summer and was immediately loaned back to Ligue 1 club Saint-Etienne for the season.
Ligue 1 was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic but the Coupe de France showpiece between Saint-Etienne and Paris Saint-Germain will go ahead on July 24.
Asked whether Saliba would be recalled immediately, Arteta said: "I think he needs to stay there. We have got an agreement with Saint-Etienne, he has been over there all year.
"He has earned the right to play in that final if the manager wants to do that. I think we have to give him the opportunity to do that, to enjoy that and we can have him after that."
Why Arsenal's new-look defence may be secured
Is Arsenal's new and improved defence already under their nose? After weeks of concern, there are positives for the Gunners if you look hard enough.
Arsenal have struggled this season in defence and there are expectations Saliba will become an important member of Arteta's squad, but the head coach said patience would be needed from the club's fans.
Saliba was out of action due to injury between November and February but he had started Saint-Etienne's last seven league games before Ligue 1 was cancelled in April.
"As a young player he had a really difficult season with injuries that he has had but again it is part of his process," Arteta added.
"I know how high the expectations are on him for next year but we have to bear in mind the age that he is at and what he has done in the past.
"I will make sure that we create the right environment for him so that he can keep growing as a player."
Bumps in the road normal for Guendouzi
Arteta also insisted his job was to get the best out of all the players within his squad should they show the desire, with midfielder Matteo Guendouzi yet to feature since his heated battle with Neal Maupay in the defeat at Brighton in June.
"When Arsenal pick him to come here it is because they could obviously see the potential and qualities that Matteo has," the head coach said.
"He is a really young player, still in development and when you are developing the curve is not normally so much straightforward.
"You have to have some bumps. You have to adapt with it and learn in the process about the things you have done right and things you have done wrong."
Arteta: Tierney exactly what we need
Arteta was also full of praise for left-back Kieran Tierney whose debut season at the Emirates Stadium has been impacted by prolonged spells on the sidelines through injury.
Tierney has started the last two games - wins against Southampton and then at Sheffield United in the FA Cup - since the restart of football and Arteta says the "humble" 23-year-old has overcome a challenging introduction at the club.
"He has been one of the positive things since I joined," Arteta said ahead of the club's home league fixture against Norwich on Wednesday.
"Just to get to know him a little bit, his character, the way he trains, the way he pushes himself.
"He is exactly what we need. He is the kind of player that I love, I am really, really happy with him. He had some really tough moments since he joined the club but now he is much happier. He is settled."
Arteta also revealed the club are awaiting the results of a scan on an ankle injury sustained by David Luiz at Bramall Lane on Sunday, with fellow defender Pablo Mari already ruled out for the rest of the season.