Arsenal loans center back Saliba to Ligue 1 side Nice

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Arsenal defender William Saliba’s frustrated campaign is set for a breath of familiar air.

Saliba, 19, has been unable to get playing time under Mikel Arteta and will return to Ligue 1 for a loan stint with Nice.

Arsenal signed Saliba from Saint-Etienne in 2019 and sent him back on loan to the Ligue 1 club. He returned in the summer but has so far been with the U-23s except for two appearances as an unused sub for Arteta.

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Nice is 12th on the Ligue 1 table, four points ahead of his former club. He’ll play with former Arsenal prospect Jeff Reine-Adelaide, veterans Morgan Schneiderlin and Dante, and longtime transfer rumor mill name Stanley N’Soki.

“We’re confident he will have a great career with us but we must remember that he is still only 19 years old and has a lot of time ahead of him,” said Arsenal technical director Edu. “William experienced a very challenging time last year, with his playing time limited by injury and the early ending of the Ligue 1 season due to the pandemic.”

The former Saint-Etienne star was and is expected to be a big part of Arsenal’s center back future along with fellow youngster Gabriel Magalhaes.

He’s the second Arsenal back to head out on loan, with Sead Kolasinac returning to former home Schalke.