Arsenal share photo of William Saliba at training – but ‘hide’ shirt number

It's a sight rarer than a total solar eclipse – but William Saliba has really been spotted wearing an Arsenal shirt.

Gunners fans can be forgiven for not knowing what that looks like, given the French ace has never actually pulled on a first-team top for the club. The north Londoners tweeted out a picture of the forgotten defender in the club's training gear, but with one key detail missing – his shirt number.

Whether strategic or by accident, Arsenal tweeted out the snap without showing Saliba's digits. Although other pics show the no.12 on the front of his shirt, Saliba still does not have an official shirt number for the upcoming campaign on the club's website.

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The 21-year-old has only made two appearances for Arsenal in the EFL Trophy since his £27million move from Saint-Etienne in 2019. He has been farmed out on loan three times, to St-Etienne, Nice and Marseille, without making a proper appearance for the Gunners.

While it remains unclear whether that will change this season, Mikel Arteta spoke positively about Saliba's chances of making inroads into the first-team a few months ago.

Speaking in May, he said: "He has to come back. He has the experience and the environment necessary to be competitive with us."

Arteta added: "If he had stayed with us this year, with a match of Premier League a week, with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn't have had half the playing time he had with Marseille, that's for sure.

"For his growth and what he can do next season that wouldn't have been good. William wasn't with us because he wouldn't have had the playing time to gain experience. That's it, there's nothing else."

Do you think Arsenal should give Saliba a chance this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Saliba confirmed his intention to fight it out in north London in an interview with French publication Telefoot last month. "I belong to Arsenal. I still have two years left," he said.

Before adding: "I have played zero matches, and I still want to show them my true face and have the chance to play for these fans and this great club."

Despite those promising words from both Saliba and Arteta, the defender did not feature in Arsenal's 5-3 demolition of Nurnberg last week.


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