Martin Keown has ripped into Arsenal over their handling of William Saliba.

The Frenchman finally arrived at the Gunners in the summer after signing the year before but staying at Saint-Etienne on loan for a season.

Fans have been anticipating his arrival with glee after earmarking him as a potential star.

Mikel Arteta has been desperate to bolster his defence and in Saliba, they had a perfect player to mold into the role.

Or at least that was what was thought, but the 19-year-old has yet to make a professional appearance for Arsenal.

David Luiz and new signing Gabriel Magalhaes have been Arteta's preferred partnership.

William Saliba has yet to make a competitive appearance for Arsenal

And Rob Holding has been acting as deputy to those, with Saliba not getting a look in.

It had led to talk of a loan move away for the season, with Ligue 1 teams taking an interest, but the deadline passed and no offer was accepted.

Talk of a move to the Championship has grown, who have a deadline until Friday before their window shuts.

Arsenal legend Keown has been left bemused by his former club's treatment of the teenager, who he believes they should be nurturing.

He said: “It’s bizarre. We’ve just not seen the kid.

“You want to see him to see how he performs say in the Championship to see if he’s good enough.

Arsenal fans are keen on seeing Saliba in action

“I’m anxious to see. The feeling was that this was going to be the one. Gabriel has come in and been an outstanding signing.

“Maybe they feel he’s too young and want him to go out to pastures new.

“To then loan him out when there was a real problem there last season seems a real mystery.”

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Arteta insisted that Saliba was not ready for the vigours of the Premier League just yet and wanted him out on a temporary basis to continue his development.

But that may not be the case unless a club comes in and makes an acceptable bid for the Frenchman prior to the market shutting.

“He had year last where Arsenal essentially loaned him to Saint-Etienne and that was a transition year for him,” said Arteta earlier this month.

Arsenal could bring in three transfer options to accompany William Saliba in the back-line
Saliba spent last year on loan at Saint-Etienne

“For many reasons, that wasn’t the transition year that he needed because he had a lot of injuries.

"He had some personal issues and obviously with COVID and the French league getting cancelled, he didn’t have that year. So he needs that year of transition.

“He needs that year of transition and we are trying to make the right decisions for him to make the best possible year of transition for him to have the player we want for our future.”