Claude Puel has suggested it’s hard for him to accept William Saliba’s transfer to Arsenal, claiming Saint-Etienne’s transfer plan seems reactionary to him.
Arsenal signed Saliba from Saint-Etienne over the summer, though they agreed to loan him back for the season to help his development and fulfil the wishes of the French club.
Saint-Etienne boss Claude Puel is nonetheless unhappy with the piece of business, suggesting it’s hard for him to accept selling their best player.
“Rather than buying a ready-made player, I’d rather we buy him to develop him and help him grow,” Puel said (via Sport Witness).
“It’s hard to accept that we sell our best player, a young kid, to help fill the coffers.
“When you have to sell your gems to round up the budget and then do short term deals to fill in the gaps, you’re being reactionary.”
Though Puel didn’t mention Saliba specifically, it’s obvious he’s the player being referred to. L’Equipe, the source of the quotes, also made that clear.
Since returning from the injury he was carrying at the start of the season, Saliba has made six appearances for his loan club, helping them to three clean sheets.
The upturn in form for his club since that return has helped them rise from 19th to 12th in the league at the time of writing, and he’s yet to lose a match with them this campaign.
It’s worth bearing in mind Saliba is still just 18. He’s not going to be Arsenal’s saviour immediately, just as a run of more disappointing results with his current club is inevitable at some point this season.
Young players make mistakes, even talented ones, and that’s often more costly in defence than anywhere else.
Still, Saliba’s manager is clearly impressed with the centre-back and sad to see him on the way out, which is good news for Arsenal fans.