• Arsenal sends William Saliba to OGC Nice on loan
  • The French defender never made a single appearance on the first-team after being signed by the Gunners last summer
  • Arsenal supporters continue to back Saliba

William Saliba will be getting the top-flight playing time that he yearns for as a football player after Arsenal sent him to French club OGC Nice on loan.

The Gunners signed Saliba last year in a $36 million deal, but the player spent the second half of the last campaign with Saint-Étienne.

He arrived in North London last summer but never made a single appearance for the first-team.

Mikel Arteta felt that he was not ready for the rigors of the English Premier League, which saw him relegated to the Under-23 brigade for the first half of the season.

Saliba was omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League lineups, which sparked a huge uproar from the team's diehard fanbase.

The clamor for Saliba’s inclusion got even louder as Arteta’s side struggled in their matches leading up to Christmas.

Arteta bared that the French defender had made progress, but rather than include him in the roster, the manager and the club's front office have decided to send him on loan for the remainder of the season.

Arsenal’s technical director Edu Gaspar believes the 19-year-old will have a long career as part of the Emirates Stadium-headquartered outfit. However, the executive believes that Saliba should pin his focus on gaining experience.

“William Saliba is a player with a huge amount of talent and potential. 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,” Edu said, as quoted on Arsenal’s official site.

“We have decided that spending the rest of the season on loan with Nice is the best way for him to develop," he continued. "We will be keeping in close contact with William during his time with Nice and look forward to seeing him make good progress until the end of the season.”

Meanwhile, Saliba's former St-Etienne teammate Wesley Fofana quickly congratulated his compatriot on Instagram and seemingly took a swipe at Arsenal with the caption “He is finally free” with celebratory emojis.

Saliba also received heartwarming support from Arsenal fans, with many of them expecting that he will eventually don the signature red-and-white uniform in the future.

He might be making his debut for OGC Nice on Wednesday, which is set to play Stade Brestois 29 in Ligue 1.

Mikel Arteta is searching for answers at Arsenal
Mikel Arteta is searching for answers at Arsenal POOL / Jon Super