Arteta should not underestimate Saliba
Sunday’s Le Classique or the match contested between Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain, which is equivalent to Spain’s El Clásico, had a very different and unexpected hero.
After two disallowed goals, Kylian Mbappe was through on goal by an exceptional Lionel Messi pass. The Frenchman must have certainly thought of being the night’s matchwinner.
However, fast forward five seconds, and it was another Frenchman who was celebrating like he has scored a winning goal in a chaotic night.
🇫🇷 William Saliba vs. PSG:
90 minutes played
1 last man tackle
5 ground duels (80% success)
1 aerial duel (100% success)
54 passes (96.4% accuracy)
1 clean sheet
— Connor Humm (@TikiTakaConnor) October 24, 2021
It was William Saliba. The 20-year-old has had a stellar start to his career at The Stade Vélodrome. He has played 12 games for the French side, keeping a clean sheet in five of them.
Arsenal just cannot afford to let go of a defender of this caliber. He’s just 20 and considering that this season is Saliba’s fourth season in the topflight is crazy.
Ruben Dias made the switch from Benfica B to the senior team at the same stage, Kalidou Koulibaly was playing for Ligue 2 side Metz. And even Manchester United legend Nemanja Vidic was playing for Serbian side Red Star Belgrade.
When you look at where some of the world’s top CBs played at William Saliba’s age, you only get more excited.
Maguire at 20 – Sheffield United
Van Dijk at 20 – Groningen
Laporte at 20 – Athletic Bilbao B team
Not many 20 year-old CBs have three years of top division experience. pic.twitter.com/6s3fBRrQQ1
— Av (@aviv_lavi) October 26, 2021
Although these types of comparisons are unfair as different players develop distinctively, but just imagine if all things go right. Arsenal fans can be in for a treat!
But for that to happen, Mikel Arteta and Edu need to convince Saliba that he is part of their plans. They need to assure him that his future lies at the Emirates Stadium and not somewhere else.
A defensive unit of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel, William Saliba, Kieran Tierney and Nuno Tavares is an exciting prospect.
Having not kicked a single ball for the first team and still being a fan favourite is not something you see everyday in world football, let alone Arsenal.
And there’s a reason behind it: he’s special.