Arsenal slammed by Saint-Etienne boss Claude Puel for William Saliba treatment

Saint-Etienne manager Claude Puel has questioned why Arsenal signed William Saliba only to leave him out of their squad for the Europa League.

Teenage centre-back Saliba joined the Gunners in July 2019 for £27million and was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the season to continue his progression.

But he made just 17 appearances across all competitions due to a major foot injury and the curtailment of the Ligue 1 season in April.

Saliba has since been linked with another loan exit from Arsenal despite being tipped to play a major role this season after being handed the No. 4 shirt.

A move to Rennes and a return to Saint-Etienne fell through, while Gunners boss Mikel Arteta ruled out a move to Championship duo Brentford and Watford.

Puel has been left confused by Arsenal's treatment of Saliba and blasted the club over their refusal to let the player return on loan.

He told L'Equipe : "It was short-term [thinking], even for the kids.

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"A superb player like William, to whom I wish the best, has not even made it to Arsenal’s Europa League squad. Where is the logic, if not financial?

The former Southampton and Leicester boss added: "He had a great desire to join us.

"The club are a bit like family and friends [to him]. His adaptation would have been instant.

Have Arsenal mistreated Saliba? Have your say here.

"This would have happened if all the conditions had met. It had to remain consistent with our finances and his contract, particularly for the management."

Saliba featured in Arsenal's pre-season victory over MK Dons but his route into the first team is uncertain after Arteta identified a number of concerns over his defensive ability.

Meanwhile, the Gunners travel to Manchester City for Saturday's 5:30pm kick-off as they look to build on their positive start to the season.

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