Mikel Arteta has been told to replace soon-to-depart Shkodran Mustafi with Arsenal rising star William Saliba.
That is the verdict of ex-Gunners striker Kevin Campbell, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about a defensive change that must be implemented straight away by the Spanish manager.
Mustafi has entered the final six months of his Arsenal contract, which expires next June, and Campbell says he will not get a new one.
By contrast, he says Saliba, 19, who is yet to play for Arsenal since signing in the summer of 2019 from St Etienne for £27million, represents the future.
He was loaned straight back to the French club last season but has made little headway since being at his parent club full time in the current campaign.
Asked by Football Insider for his verdict on Saliba and whether he could replace Mustafi, Campbell said:
“Apparently Saliba has made great strides in training,” Campbell told Football Insider.
“Mustafi is going to leave at the end of the season, that is a done deal from both sides, and Saliba needs minutes, so why not give him the minutes that Mustafi is getting?
“To me it makes no sense. I like to think Arteta would use Saliba in the Europa League and FA Cup games we have coming up rather than sending him out on loan.”
Arteta did not name Saliba in his matchday squad for Wednesday’s 1-1 Premier League draw against Southampton.
Mustafi,28, was an unused substitute on the night as he failed to add to his seven appearances in all competitions this season.