Mikel Arteta admits past Arsenal mistakes with William Saliba at the front of the regretful list – Tom Canton


Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta came into the club as an inexperienced first-team coach with the knowledge only of being mentored by Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola.

However, he is learning and improving with every game and records continue to be broken by the Arsenal manager. The Gunners managed their first double over Wolves for nine seasons in Thursday night’s 2-1 win. Building on the impressive victories in the 2020 FA Cup final, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and back-to-back home north London derbies amongst many others.

However, there have been errors on Arteta’s part. In-game management and the decision-making behind player exile costing the club significant financial reward in regard to possible sales of players such as Matteo Guendouzi.

Speaking to Amazon Prime, Arteta admitted that he had made errors.

“For sure I have made a lot of mistakes. Sometimes the decision can be right, maybe I should have done it earlier. If I have some regrets, maybe earlier, not the decision. But probably to do it earlier and then you learn so much.

“While you believe you knew two years ago, you now realise that didn’t have probably a clue.”

Questioned on whether he was talking about Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arteta denied but still hinted at the reason behind some of the decisions he’s made.

“No, I think around the club we have to make a lot of good decisions and when we talk about the non-negotiables it’s about the values that have to be installed. If someone is going to damage those values and the environment, [they] should not be part of the club.”


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One mistake that many supporters are concerned will cost the club in the near future is the management of young French defender William Saliba. Signed under Unai Emery’s Arsenal regime for near £30 million, Arteta has yet to use the 20-year-old.

He was dropped to the under 23s before a six-month loan to Nice. This season, Arteta again deemed it too early for senior football with Arsenal and he joined Marseille where he has been a standout.

Saliba was not registered for the 2020/21 Europa League and Arteta admitted then he felt bad about the circumstances of his omittance.

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

Saliba will return to Arsenal with two years remaining on his Arsenal contract and with the expectation of fans that he will be integrated. It seems clear that if Arteta is looking regretfully at choices he made not soon enough, perhaps giving Saliba more of a chance is one of them he wishes to remedy.

football.london understands that it is the intention of Saliba to come back and fight for his place, but the Spanish coach has not spoken recently about his plans for the former Saint-Etienne player.

Add Saliba to the current contingent of Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes and Arsenal have one of the best core groups of centre-halves in the league. One which could set them up for the next decade.

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