Arsenal technical director Edu has explained what the future might hold for William Saliba.

The young French defender signed for the club back in the summer of 2019 for an estimated fee of £27m before spending a season on loan at his former side Saint-Etienne.

After he was controversially not allowed to return for their Coupe de France final clash against PSG, he was expected to play a role in the plans of Mikel Arteta.

That has for some reason not been the case, and the 19-year-old has now been allowed to return to France with Nice on a temporary deal until the end of the campaign.

William Saliba could leave Arsenal to gain Premier League experience with Fulham
William Saliba has left Arsenal to gain more first-team experience with Nice

Edu told the official website: “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.

"William experienced a very challenging time last year, with his playing time limited by injury and the early ending of the Ligue 1 season due to the pandemic.

"So together with William, we have decided that spending the rest of the season on loan with Nice is the best way for him to develop.

“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.”

Edu has insisted that the decision has been taken by all parties, and blamed the pandemic and a recent injury for his lack of match action over the past year.

Arsenal defender William Saliba might be running out of patience with Mikel Arteta
William Saliba was not given a chance under Mikel Arteta at Arsenal this season

There has been plenty said by the friends and team-mates of the treatment of Saliba after he failed to make a single appearance during the first half of the 2020/21 season.

The defender wrote on an Instagram post by Matteo Guendouzi in December: “Hahaha I’m sending well wishes to the brother who was locked up like me.”

Leicester defender Wesley Fofana said after the loan to Nice was confirmed: “He's finally free.”