Sometimes things take time - Arteta urges patience with Saliba

AFP

Mikel Arteta is happy to let William Saliba take his time adapting to life at Arsenal after the teenage defender's arrival in north London.

The Gunners won the race to sign Saliba in July 2019 - reportedly beating rivals Tottenham to his signature - but he spent the 2019-20 campaign back on loan at Saint-Etienne as part of the deal.

He featured 12 times for the Ligue 1 club before the domestic campaign was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, though a foot injury kept him out between November and January, while Arsenal did not grant him permission to feature in the Coupe de France final against Paris Saint-Germain in July.

Saliba has been absent from Arteta's matchday squads for their first two Premier League games but, ahead of potentially making his debut in the EFL Cup at Leicester City on Wednesday, the Gunners manager stressed he has been pleased with what he has seen so far from the 19-year-old.

"I think William is doing really well," Arteta told reporters.

"He's adapting to the country, he's adapting to our club. We have to bear in mind that he had a really challenging season last year with the amount of injuries that he had.

"But he's a player who's going to be really important in our future, and sometimes things take some time and we have to respect that."

Arteta led Arsenal to FA Cup glory in the previous campaign and added the Community Shield to the Emirates Stadium trophy cabinet at the start of this season.

He views the EFL Cup as another major prize having been part of the Manchester City coaching staff when Pep Guardiola's team won the trophy in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Asked if bigger clubs were not taking the EFL Cup seriously, he replied: "I think they are. I think [in] the last few seasons, obviously the competition and the clubs have raised.

"There's only one winner in this country with the Premier League and a lot of frustrated clubs, and now everybody wants a title.

"You can see in the last few years, the teams, how strong a line-up they've been using, and the type of finals we've found in recent years.”