Always thinking about the future, Arsenal decided to splash the cash over the summer on Saint-Etienne’s William Saliba.

The Gunners spent €30m on the young centre-back, deciding he had the attributes to help them in the long run in their defence; an area they have struggled to stabilise in recent years.

However, they didn’t bring him in straight away, and the 18-year-old was sent back to Saint-Étienne for the current campaign in order to get some more first-team football under his belt before trying to make room for himself at the Emirates.

Unfortunately, Saliba has suffered two frustrating setbacks (first a hamstring injury followed by a metatarsal fracture), which means he’s only made eight league appearances so far.

Embed from Getty Images

He’s back now, featuring in the last three Ligue 1 fixtures (which were all losses), and there might have been a feeling he was distracted, knowing full well what was waiting for him at the end of the season.

Ahead of the Coupe de France fixture against Épinal on Thursday, he was asked about his situation, which he clarified rather emphatically.

He said, relayed by Le10 Sport: “For now, I’m 300% focused on Saint-Étienne. My head isn’t elsewhere. Next year, I’ll be at Arsenal, but I still follow their results.”

That means he’ll know the task that awaits him, especially after the arrival of Pablo Marí at the Emirates in January, and it might not be easy for him to break through straight away.