Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell has suggested that the club’s treatment of William Saliba is “madness”.
The defender joined the Gunners from Saint-Etienne in 2019 for a fee in the region of £27m.
Saliba is yet to make his senior debut for Arsenal. He has spent the past couple of seasons on loan in Ligue 1.
The 20-year-old had spells at Saint-Ettiene and Nice. Ahead of the 2021/22 campaign, he has joined Marseille on a season-long loan.
Campbell has spoken about Saliba on the Highbury Squad Podcast. He believes that the way he has been treated is “madness”:
“If he wanted to be in London, he would say ‘I’m not going on loan, I am staying here because I know I can get into the team’.
“But he has never done that. He keeps going back to France – Saliba has had three managers and he’s not kicked a ball for the club.
“It’s madness. But he’s young. And young players need stability.”
“Absolutely there is another character in this dressing room that transmits every value that I would like to transmit to the club and our fans [and it is Kieran].
“Again, it is young, hungry, talented, and people with huge desire and again he has all four ingredients – and he didn’t want to talk about anything other than staying here.
“He had a really, really good season after a really difficult start at the club and I really value people that when things aren’t going for them, they don’t give up. Kieran didn’t give up, he needed support and I think the club gave him a lot of support, but he was really willing to turn that situation around and prove people wrong if people were doubting him.
“That character, I think it shows on the pitch – when anything happens that is not going for us, you don’t give up, you just raise your level, try to be better and transmit that to the rest of the team so they all believe.
“Kieran has this capacity, and Emile as well, to lift the crowd with an action, Gabi Martinelli has this capacity – and this is something you either have or you don’t have.”