Arsenal fans have William Saliba theory over when defender will make his debut

Arsenal fans reckon William Saliba could be in line to make his long-awaited debut for the club this weekend.

The Gunners signed the teenage defender last summer from Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne, whom they immediately loaned him back to.

Upon his arrival at the Emirates, it was expected that Saliba would be swiftly blooded into the first team.

Arteta, however, has yet to make use of the 19-year-old – who has spent the duration of the season being a spectator.

The Spaniard's decision not to play the centre-back has, understandably, left many of supporters of the north London club perplexed.

In order to adjust to the rigours of the English game, Saliba has been playing with Arsenal's Under-23's.

The Frenchman, however, was left out of the Under-23's' squad for Friday's clash with Blackburn Rovers – an omission that has prompted some of the Emirates faithful to predict he'll make his debut against Aston Villa on Saturday evening.

"No Saliba?" one fan asked on Twitter. "Could that mean he could start against Aston Villa this weekend!!!"

Another said: "This means Saliba will be in for Aston Villa?"

Earlier this week, it was reported that Saliba is unhappy with his lack of first-team football and is eager to return to Saint-Etienne on loan.

Arteta admits the defender is frustrated by his current predicament, saying: "Yeah, fed up with the situation.

Premier League's most expensive kit deals

  1. Manchester United (Adidas) – £75m-a-season
  2. Liverpool (Nike) – £70m-a-season*
  3. Manchester City (Puma) – £65m-a-season
  4. Chelsea (Nike) – £60m-a-season
  5. Arsenal (Adidas) – £50m-a-season
  6. Tottenham (Nike) – £30m-a-season

*If bonuses are met

"As you can see we tried to find a way in the last few days to give him some football. I explained that he needed that transition year when we decided to buy him.

"For many reasons that didn't happen and he needs to go through that.

"With the amount of central defenders that we have in the team, we had to let him out of the squad which is painful.

"After that, we had some injuries and we could have used him but it's part of this profession."

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