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Arteta 'fed up' with Saliba situation as Arsenal consider loan exit

William Saliba has yet to make his Arsenal debut and Mikel Arteta accepts the situation is frustrating.

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Arteta 'fed up' with Saliba situation as Arsenal consider loan exit

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insists he too is "fed up" with the situation around William Saliba amid reports the centre-back is frustrated in north London. 

Signed from Saint-Etienne in 2019 for a reported £27million (€29.7m) last July, Saliba was loaned back to the Ligue 1 club for the 2019-20 season, which was curtailed in France due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Although he returned to the Gunners prior to the start of 2020-21, the 19-year-old is yet to make his competitive debut under Arteta and a second loan move to his old club collapsed in the final hours of the latest transfer window. 

There have been reports Saliba is unhappy with how things are progressing at Arsenal, but Arteta says he shares those frustrations, suggesting the player could be loaned out in January to help his development during a "transition year". 

Arteta on Saliba

"I'm fed up with the situation because as you could see, we tried to find a way in the last few days [of the transfer window] to give him some football," Arteta told reporters on Wednesday. 

"I explained that he needed that transition year when we decided to buy him and send him on loan to Saint-Etienne. For many reasons, that didn't happen and he didn't have that transition year.  

“He needs to go through that and, at the moment, with the amount of central defenders that we have in the team, we had to let him out of the squad which is painful. After that, we had some injuries and we could have used him but it's part of this profession."

When asked about a possible loan exit in 2021, Arteta said: "Well, I don't know. We certainly tried in the last few days of the transfer window to find the right club and we had him, but at the end of the day we could not make it and we will review the situation in the next few weeks and sit down with him as well and see what is the best thing to do. But it will depend on him and other players' situations as well." 

Arsenal are preparing for a Europa League clash with Molde on Thursday as they look to make it three wins from three games in Group B. 

The Gunners are in positive spirits, having ended a 14-year wait for a Premier League win at Old Trafford last Sunday, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's penalty securing a 1-0 victory over Manchester United. 

"Obviously we needed that because we were really disappointed with the result against Leicester City [a 1-0 home defeat], considering how the game went," he said. 

"But to see the reaction of the team in such a stadium, with the history we have in terms of results playing at Old Trafford, and then the courage... 

"I said before the game and after the game that I wanted to see the game playing with courage, being us, and I think we were us from the first minute. To get a big result there is obviously always a big plus in terms of confidence and belief and now it is about being consistent and doing it again three days later." 

Mohamed Elneny impressed in that win over United, completing more passes (58) than any other Arsenal player as he and Thomas Partey frustrated the hosts' midfield. 

"I think he is responding really well to all the challenges we are putting in front of him," Arteta said of Elneny.  

"He had a big one when he came back from his loan spell to show what he could bring to the squad and I think everyone has seen what he can do, so I am really pleased with his performances and what he brings to the team."