Arsenal chief Edu contacts William Saliba agent as January transfer decision due

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Arsenal chief Edu is in contact with William Saliba’s agent as a move away from the club in the January transfer window becomes increasingly likely.

The defender arrived in the summer with much hype after impressing in Ligue 1 with Saint-Etienne last season. However, Saliba has yet to make a Premier League or Europa League appearance for the Gunners after Mikel Arteta excluded him from both squads.

Even when he was eligible to play in the Carabao Cup against Manchester City on Tuesday Saliba didn’t even make the bench.

It has led to intense speculation that Saliba will seal a loan move away from the Gunners in the January transfer window, with a return to Saint-Etienne likely.

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While no meeting has been planned between Edu and Saliba’s representatives, Football.London understands the Arsenal chief is in dialogue with the defender’s agent as a transfer draws closer.

“I feel really bad for William Saliba,” Arteta said of the defender recently. “Because we had so many central defenders, we decided to leave him out of the squad which was really hurtful for me to do.

“I was hoping that Pablo would be back in two weeks but he had a setback and then we don’t have Pablo and we don’t have William when he’s fit and available to play.

“But when you make those decisions, you can’t always think about every possible outcome.”

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Saliba’s absence from the squad has become something of a mystery for most Arsenal fans but Arteta stated that the 19-year-old just needed time to adapt at the start of the season.

“I think it’s going to take him [Saliba] some time to adapt to our way of playing but as well to get adapted to the language, the rhythm, the physicality of the country,” said the Spaniard.

“As well we have to bear in mind that he didn’t play much football last season with all the injuries he had.

“So, I think it will be a process that we have to be patient, picking the right games with the right environment and trying to grow because he [Saliba] has a really good potential.”

And despite the lack of game time Arteta believes Saliba has made great strides at the club.

“To be fair, he’s made massive improvements in the last few months and it’s been a really tricky situation for him,” said Arteta.

“As I mentioned before, we designed a pathway for him and there were a lot of things that happened to him in his personal life and professionally as well.

“Now we’ve made some steps forwards, he’s working really hard and played for the under-21s again.”

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