William Saliba admits he was ‘hurt’ being frozen out by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
The French defender, who arrived at the Emirates with much fanfare, was left out of the club’s Premier League and Europa League squads.
Now on loan with Nice, Saliba says he was surprised by Arteta’s decision.
“I really, really, really didn’t think that I would be transferred for €30m, to think that I would arrive, where people were expecting a lot from me, the fans excited about me and you find yourself in the reserves,” Saliba told TF1.
“To play zero, zero nothing in the Europa League or the league. I was in the squad once in the league cup. It hurt me, it affected me.
“I don’t think I left too early. When you feel ready you have to go. I don’t think I left too early. These things happen. I believe in myself.’”
Pushed on his future plans, Saliba did not rule out a return to his homeland on a permanent basis.
He added: “I am just focused on doing the absolute most and best possible for the next 6 months. After that, we will see.”