The new manager of Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne, Claude Puel, has heavily criticised the decision of the club to sell teenage defender William Saliba to Arsenal in the summer.
The 18 year old was sold to the Gunners for £27 million, before being sent back to the French side on loan for the season in order to gain more experience.
Puel, the former Southampton and Leicester City boss, took over at the Ligue 1 club last month after previous incumbent Ghislain Printant was sacked, and has already identified Saliba, despite his tender years, as the club’s best player, despite the fact that he has only managed six appearances for the team this season because of a hamstring injury.
He said: “t’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”
Saliba has spent some time with his new club whilst he has been out with injury, and, although Arsenal staff have identified several areas he needs to work on, believe he is capable of challenging for a first team spot at the Emirates next season.
Saliba helped his side keep another clean sheet at home to Monaco on Sunday, as Saint Etienne won 1 – 0.
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.