If there was an Arsenal Team of the Season being submitted now, Saliba would in most elevens.
Of course, like any title aspirations, it’s worth remembering it’s only been 8 Prem fixtures with another 30 still to play!
Yet I wouldn’t be shocked in training if Gabriel is patting him on the shoulder asking his partner to ‘slow down, your making me look bad.’
I have often whispered Gabriel is good, but not as great as some Gooners make out. Simply guilty of fans wanting to believe they have a world class talent in their ranks, so making out he can run before he’s properly walked.
Let’s clarify, the Brazilian is not bad, he’s good and at 24 should only get better.
That’s what great about both of our centre backs. In an era where they say defenders don’t reach their prime until they are in their thirties, both have time to learn.
I stress ‘should get better’ because a player is always in danger of getting carried away with being over-hyped. That’s why it’s better to point out mistakes when your team is winning and not wait till it’s too late.
international managers agree. Gabriel wasn’t included in his nations latest squad, putting his place at the World Cup in doubt.
Saliba on the other hand seems first back up in the French pecking order.
I have always maintained Gabriel makes too many errors to be spoken about at the level some of my peers do. Robbed in possession which gifted Fulham a goal, an own goal against Leicester, playing too high up the pitch at Old Trafford, diving in to concede a spot kick in the Derby, etc, that’s actually a lot of errors in the space of so few matches.
Saliba on the other hand has been flawless. Good on the ball, in the air, timing tackles to perfection, a reader of what’s going on, there isn’t a poor part of his game.
At times on Saturday, he was mopping up for others who found themselves out of position.
He’s so good that any failure to qualify for the Champions League will put his future in doubt.
There was already talk that he was receptive at making his last loan move permanent due to a desire to play at UEFA’s top table.
The 21-year-old contracts expires in less than two years, meaning very soon the player and his agent hold all the cards. We were lied to by the club that talent wouldn’t be allowed to run down their contracts.
The only way this ‘process’ works is if we keep our best players and not sell them to our rivals.
This is where loaning him out so long, a decision the player never agreed to, might come back to haunt the Gunners?
So many world class players, the moment you see them – you know the moment you see them play.
They have a presence and composure about them.
Not world class yet but if he avoids all the trappings, that will only increase, the higher the profile he will be.
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