Rio Ferdinand has labelled Arsenal’s signing of William Saliba as a “waste of money”.
The 19-year-old came through the ranks with Saint-Etienne before he signed for Arsenal for around £27m in July 2019.
As part of that deal, he rejoined the French outfit on loan for the entire 2019/20 campaign. In a season disrupted by injury and COVID-19, he made 17 appearances in all competitions.
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Saliba returned to Arsenal ahead of the 2020/21 campaign. He was expected to come in and play a significant role for the Gunners this season.
But the defender is yet to make a senior appearance for Mikel Arteta’s side since he sealed his move in 2019.
On Monday it was announced that Saliba had joined Ligue 1 side Nice on loan for the remainder of the season.
Arsenal Technical Director Edu defended the decision to let Saliba leave. He suggested that this move is “the best way for him to develop.”
Speaking on his FIVE YouTube channel, Ferdinand claimed that the Gunners still need a top-level centre back:
“I still think Arsenal need a top centre half, all the problems stem from that.
“You’ve got a great nucleus of young players, there’s seven or eight young players there who everyone is talking about.
“But you’ve got to put the pieces around them and that’s the big problem. That’s been the big problem with recruitment at Arsenal for so long.
“Saliba, what’s happened with him? It’s a waste of money it seems at the minute. I don’t know what’s happened.
“Gabriel has been indifferent. Rob Holding’s playing centre back, what does that say? When you see Holding as the Arsenal captain, you could never imagine that a few years ago.”