‘Can’t learn from him’ – Gallas warns that Arsenal will hold back youngster

William Gallas has warned that William Saliba cannot learn from Arsenal team-mate and defensive partner Gabriel Magalhaes.

The French defender initially joined from St Etienne back in 2019, but was allowed to return to France for three separate loan spells with his former club, Nice and Marseille, before finally making his debut this term, and he has gone onto play every minute of our Premier League thus far.

After such a bright start to the campaign, he is soaking up plenty of plaudits, and while Gallas has been impressed by the partnership formed at the back by Gabriel and Saliba, he believes our youngster needs a better partner to reach ‘an even higher level’.

‘I thought Saliba was excellent. He was very strong in his performance, focussed, he won all of his individual battles and duels,’ Gallas said (via the Metro).

‘For his age, the maturity that he showed in his performance was very good. If he continues to do what he does, then he has a very bright future in the game.

‘I think with the way things are going for him, if he continues with this development, then he can become one of the top defenders.

‘I wouldn’t be surprised to see him nominated for the Young Player of the Year award because he has been that good.

‘As I’ve said recently, I still think he needs to have one top class defender to partner him to take him to an even higher level.

‘Sometimes you need to learn from someone and at the moment, he doesn’t have that at Arsenal.

‘I think Gabriel is playing well. He plays with a lot of intensity and is improving, but Saliba can’t learn from him.

‘Saliba needs an experienced player next to him and he will become even better. I love what he is doing for Arsenal.’

While I like the partnership we have, I tend to agree here. Saliba has a very high ceiling, and while he is likely to improve under Mikel Arteta’s guise, he could definitely do with a role model alongside him who had some pearls of wisdom to pass on.

It’s a shame David Luiz isn’t still at a level where he could have continued, as he had a lot to pass on to a positive defender such as Saliba.

Who do you think we should target that Saliba could ideally learn from?


Tags William Gallas William Saliba


  1. That’s the problem with Mr Gallas.
    Output in the end is always trash. Base on this logic, Virgil Van Dijk got better because he learnt from Dejan Lovren.
    Utter rubbish.

  2. I agree with Gallas perspective about the partnership or combination with a left full-back. I also lamented the way the rather unforgiving and ever too quick intolerance that we Arsenal Fans have. David Luiz had something to give but I figured he felt some lack of enthusiasm by the pundits, media, and fans who are very quick in exposing only the downsides. We do still need a stout fullback. We missed out on Martinez to Manchester United though mentally not as sound as David. We should be in the market for this missing person. What would happen if Gabriel was injured or red carded? That would be a jeopardy to our defense.

    1. I am struggling to understand William Gallas. The duo are doing well so I do not understand his cry. Let them grow together.

  3. Saliba development won’t be hindered by being at Arsenal playing in the current squad.

    It would have help having David Luiz around yes, but he’s doing quite fine as its is. regular game time and defensive coaching is just as good in filling any void

  4. Is it fullback that is being talked of or centreback? And is William Gallas suggesting that Arsenal should sign a new top quality experience centreback next January window? Who from whom Saliba will learn from in a new centreback pairing with him at the heart of the Arsenal defence.
    Well! Arsenal could do that but if they see a strong reason that will make them do so.
    Meanwhile, learning or no learning, the centreback defensive partnership between Gabriel and Saliba has largely worked so far this season for Arsenal in the EPL campaign. As Arsenal have lost only one of the 8 matches that they’ve played to sit a top of the League.
    But nevertheless, I will not be against Arsenal if they choose to improve their defense capability by signing a new top class centreback during the next Jan window. Who will give tough competition to both Gabriel and Saliba for their money for a regular staring role in the Arsenal defense-line. But if such a new centreback is signed, he may not want to sit on the bench watching Gabriel and Saliba regularly starting games in the EPL for Arsenal.
    So for now, and as both Gabriel and Saliba are not defensively perfect for Arsenal in the EPL so far this season when us have seen them played for Arsenal. For, both of them have made defensive mistakes in their game that led to Arsenal conceding goals.
    But both Gabriel and Saliba will learn from their mistakes to improve on it in their games for Arsenal as time goes on. Therefore, there is no need for any concern about those two Arsenal centrebacks.

  5. I agree with Gallas.. Gabriel is our weakness in defense… He’s the only “unstable” player we have there
    His positioning is often wrong.
    I am not saying he hasn’t been playing well, but we would have been seriously exposed if Tottenham Hotspur had made at least two of their passes right in the final third and they were all from the left side

      1. Exactly!! We can’t have it all. Nobody does. Lets work and keep improving with what we have, we will only get better. What’s the point in having a bloated squad? It’s not only expensive but counterproductive to the club in the long run. Defensively we are in very good shape and have good cover for every position. Let’s keep it positive and trudge on. Naturally everything in life can be improved upon. Thanks

  6. While I am not entirely convinced by Gabriel , the fact that we were exposed on the left on 2/3 occasions against Spurs was not down to him alone.The absent Zinchenko was caught upfield which is not surprising as he is not, and never will be a quality left back.At some stage soon, I hope Arteta fields a back four of Tomi, White, Saliba and Tierney to enable us all to judge our strongest back four individually and collectively.

    1. Why don’t we try Zinchecko in that new Xhaka role so that we can have another option for Xhaka?

  7. If Gabriel is injured, then White plays and I think he is equally as good. We tend to forget these guys are still young and yet to reach their peak. The peak for a defender is around 30 and there is a lot of years of playing and learning to get there.
    You can’t have your cake and eat it. Players develop by playing regularly. Getting a new experienced and good defender means one of these guys are getting sold which may not really be a bad thing, but we need to be clear on what we are asking for and the consequences. We shouldn’t come back and cry later when in few years he becomes world class for another club. It is what it is.

  8. Gallas was/ is an imperfect player/person at Arsenal himself, somebody should teach him to keep his mouth
    shut.. can’t wait to see who Arteta plays on Thursday !!

    1. Exactly my point. He was a horrible human and a terrible defender so he should shut up and tall about Chelsea

  9. Why can’t Arteta try a Saliba-White partnership? I’m pretty sure he knows better than I do. But I believe White will be a solid partner alongside Saliba.

  10. Arsenal have coaches to help the players get better….The partnership between Gabriel and Saliba is important and will develop into the best center back pairing….Next season the two of them will be better together
    Don’t change what’s working well

  11. Please bring back David Luiz to Arsenal in a defensive coaching capacity. We already know he’s a great mentor for the young lads.

  12. Gallas is wrong! Saliba is past that stage of learning the basics of playing as a CB,he has already done his “apprenticeship”.what he needs now is playing,no better way to learn/.has Gallas forgotten that Saliba is still being coached at club/international levels ?

  13. Rubbish.

    Gabriel is a different type of defender. Much more easy but also much more aggressive. I’d argue salibas improvement in the air (he wasn’t great before) is probably partly due to Gabriel. They balance each other well. We don’t need this garbage right now.

    1. That’s more my thinking as well. I think it’s preferable to have an aggressive CB paired with a less aggressive, more thoughtful CB like saliba.

  14. I don’t agree white would make a good partner for saliba – they are similar in style but saliba is clearly the better of the two, so I don’t see the benefit.
    If we had to replace Gabriel, I think Tomi would be the better fit at CB. He’s got that more aggressive style that I think would compliment WS, and he’s more controlled than Gabriel.
    White is doing well in this RB role now, so it would make more sense to my mind

  15. Is that Gallas the Spurs’ player. He didn’t want to sign a new contract offered him thinking he could get a bigger offer from Roma. Eventually, Roma offer didn’t materialise and Spurs picked him up for only 50k after having refused 100k from us.

    He should talk about Chelsea and Spurs and leave Arsenal alone.

  16. In event of the scenario you just painted, then saliba partners with Ben white, and tomiyasu is back at RB, no sweats at all.

  17. This Gallas or whatever they call him is always talking trash. He doesn’t really mean well for Arsenal. Which experience is greater than competing with and playing against topflight strikers every week? It is a gradual process and every player is unique in his own right. Up Saliba! Up Arsenal! I’m a Gunner forever!

  18. That’s a useless analysis, from an avarage former fullback.
    The partnership with Gabriel is still doing okay. Understanding between the two is all that is required. Even if Saliba can play alongside van dyck, if there is no understanding between the two, the team will leak goals. Liverpool is leaking goals, whose fault is that. Goals scored against us, is at times the problem from the middle or the wings.

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