Arsenal legend Martin Keown says his former club made a mistake when they allowed William Saliba to return to Saint-Etienne on loan after he had sealed a move in the summer.
Saliba signed for Arsenal last summer from Saint-Etienne for a reported fee of £27million but returned to the Ligue 1 club shortly. The French club insisted the deal was dependent on him returning to France to continue his development.
The north London club continued to depend on Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos but the pair struggled as they shipped many goals under Unai Emery. However, since Mikel Arteta took over, the defense has somehow stabilized but Keown believes his former club should have driven a harder bargain during their initial negotiation for Saliba.
"There’s an awful lot of work to be done in there [defence]. There was the defender from Saint-Etienne William Saliba who they paid £27million for but was loaned back again," Keown told talkSPORT.
"I couldn't quite work that out because now I’m being told he’s world-class. Never mind if he’s world-class if he was Premier League class it would have been good enough because that was an area of concern."