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Arteta’s defensive concerns over Saliba as Arsenal line up loan move

Mikel Arteta is said to have misgivings over William Saliba's defending as the teenager looks set to leave Arsenal on another loan deal.

Saliba signed for Arsenal in a £27million deal last summer, but he was instantly loaned back to selling club Saint-Etienne to aid his development.

The French youngster endured an injury-hit 2019/20 campaign back at his former club, with the swift curtailment of the Ligue 1 season seeing the 19-year-old return to London Colney to train with the Gunners.

The centre-back wasn't eligible to play for his parent club in the latter part of last season after football returned from lockdown, but having been handed the No.4 shirt for the new campaign he was expected to play a part in Arteta's plans.

However, the Gunners currently possess a healthy array of centre-backs at the club having signed Gabriel Magalhaes this summer, as well as adding Pablo Mari on a permanent deal.

David Luiz remains an important part of the Arsenal squad, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding also still on the books despite being linked with moves away. Calum Chambers is still recovering from injury, while Kieran Tierney has shown that he can play on the left of a three-man defence.

All of which means that Saliba is set to be allowed to leave on loan, with a move back to Saint-Etienne collapsing before the closure of the French transfer deadline to the frustration of the Ligue 1 club and the player.

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EFL sides are still allowed to sign players though, and Saliba is now being tipped for a temporary move to the Championship with Brentford said to be at the head of the queue.

Arteta will hope that a move sees the teenager iron out the flaws in his game, with defending set-pieces and a tendency to dive into tackles both seen by the Spaniard as areas of concern, according to ESPN.

The Gunners boss will hope that those issues can be worked on during any loan deal, with Saliba still seen as an exciting prospect by the club.

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