David Luiz’s replacement is ready to step up (Opinion)

Recent reports are claiming that David Luiz is set to leave the club this summer, and I can’t help but believe that William Saliba will be the man to step into the role.

The centre-back has been enjoying a first-team role for Nice since joining on loan in January, playing the full 90 minutes of 19 Ligue 1 fixtures thus far.

The defender has helped his side to a comfortable mid-table finish, but his performance haven’t gone unnoticed, with a number of stats emerging of his passing range and ability.

Saliba is claimed to have completed 7 of his 8 long pass attempts, as well as retaining a 95% pass accuracy from his 113 passes in the entire matchup with Strasbourg.

His stats for the previous match appear even better on paper however, despite less passing attempts.

Some fans were shocked that he wasn’t at least given the chance to showcase his talent in the first-team this season, with Mikel Arteta forcing him to play for the Under-23 side, before he eventually left on loan instead.

With TheAthletic confirming that he will leave the club this summer, you have to believe that we will be looking at bringing a ball-playing defender into the first-team, and Saliba has been showing that he is exactly that over in his home country.

Is there any doubt that the 20 year-old is ready to step-up into Arsenal’s first-team for the new season?


Tags David Luiz William Saliba


  1. Logic says:

    He is quality, he reminds me do much of varane but I am afraid he might be sold or relegated to bench beacuse we know what happens to players who are not liked by Arteta. Ppl talk about Wenger having a secure job well Artet has broken all the record I have never heard or seen aanaher who performed this bad for a big club and still survived not only that he was not even threaten with a sack and is going to backed up again in summer transfer window. Sad are these days for Arsenal football club.

  2. gotanidea says:

    Those stats look very good, despite coming from Ligue 1. Luiz’s long balls are often wasteful, so hopefully Saliba can produce better ones

    Arteta has no other choice but keeping Saliba at the Emirates next season, unless there’s a good offer for the boy

  3. PJ-SA says:

    So we have Marvo and Saliba which both seem like great prospects.

    The issue is getting around MA.

    1. Tony T says:

      Great stats. But can he defend!?

  4. Wyoming says:

    Luiz leaving is no surprise as along withe two loan players he is the only Arsenal player whose contract runs out this summer. Every one else has a rock solid ‘you can’t force me to leave’ contract including the likes of Leno Bellerin Kolasinac Xhaka Willian Niles Willock Nelson Nketia Guendouzi Torreira Mavropanos Aubameyang Cedic and Lacazette. Moving players on this summer is going to be a lot harder than people think unless the club is prepared to buy out contracts at huge cost.
    Is Saliba Luizs replacement?
    No not yet as Saliba is only 20 years old. Gabriel Mari Holding and Chambers are Luizs replacements.
    Saliba is still an apprentice
    With out Thursday night football Saliba would have to be forced into the PL side to get game time.
    If Arsenal does not win a place in Europe leaving the 20 year old in France one more season would be a better option and instead bring back Mavropanos as the 5th centre back.

    1. Awhy says:

      Wesley Fofana stared for Leicester and was actively part of their FA cup success story, he is only 20yrs from Ligue 1 but Brenda nurtured him rightly and gave him chance no wonder he succeed in his first season in EPL. Fofana wasn’t better than Saliba, he only need a manager to nurture him and give him his chance.

      1. Sue says:


      2. ozziegunner says:

        Wyoming needs to learn the history of Arsenal, if he thinks a 20 yo playing Ligue 1 will be “an apprentice” at Arsenal. One Tony Adams made his first team debut 4 weeks after his 17th birthday and we know how this apprentice turned out. Martin Keown made his first team debut at 19.

  5. A J says:

    I sincerely hope Saliba is fit for purpose.

    Also, Mavropanos is producing good reports in terms of feedback.

    We have to take into account the leagues they are currently performing in – but fingers crossed for both.

    1. Awhy says:

      It’s not the league they are coming from that matter, it’s their ability to hold their own. Hazard was a king in EPL but fast turning to a flop in La Liga. Fofana played in Ligue1 last season and is performing beautifully in EPL.

      1. A J says:


        ” Hazard was a king in EPL but fast turning to a flop in La Liga ”

        Kinda my point, as a Madrid fan could say “he was playing in the EPL, not tested here in Spain” – it works both ways no ?

  6. Sean Williams says:

    Now we can have a decent CB. He was treated badly, par for Arteta’s course. His ex-understudy and often partner in defence, Wesley Fofana, won the FA cup yesterday with a near MOTM performance. Maybe because he was Unai Emery’s boy Arteta could not control his ‘ego’ to want Saliba out of the way. Same with Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira. Well done William Saliba. Arteta has no humility (never his fault, always others) and an ego as big as the Moon and he is Mr Control Freak. No generosity of spirit at all.

    1. BABA SAGNA says:

      You must be exceptionally sik to even think this, talkless of writing about someone you have never met talkless of knowing him personally. Football has given senseless thoughts like yours a voice in the society…such a shame.

  7. Sue says:

    It’s been mentioned that Saliba is better than Fofana…. so after Fofana’s MOTM performance on Saturday, we’re in for a treat!

    1. BABA SAGNA says:

      We can only hope. Saliba being better in France doesn’t mean he’ll be better in England. For Arsenal’s sake, I hope he is because God knows we need funds to reinforce other areas

      1. Sue says:

        Spot on, Baba 👍

  8. Stephanie says:

    I think we have a solid defence or at least the best defence we’ve had in years in my humble opinion

    1. zackson88 says:

      right a much better defense even compared to wenger’s last seasons. I think the team needs strong defensive mid. Yves would offer that protection

  9. Reggie says:

    Its not anything to do with his stats and ability, it to do with his relationship or lack of with Arteta and his cronies. They really did treat this kid with disdain and i wonder if he really wants to, or can come back as if nothing happened.

  10. Ba Elkhirsawy says:

    Do not waste money on center backs while we have number of them on loan ready to step up.

  11. Topgun86 says:

    You don’t spend that kind of money on a young center back and keep loaning him out. The boy needs to play from the first minute next season. The combination of him and Gabriel is something that had fans salivating last season and we never got to see it. Quit outsmarting yourself mikel and go with the obvious solution. This isn’t man city where you can keep 100m of center backs on the bench.

  12. Grandad says:

    Plenty centre backs but not one in the current pool has pace and therefor, they protect themselves by playing too deep, which has a knock on effect through the team.The fact that Man City and the Liverpool side of last season are able to dominate games is because they are able to hold a high line because their centre backs are quick and can recover .The absence of VVD and Gomez who is arguably the quickest CB in the EPL, is one of the main reasons why they have “struggled” this season.I have not seen much of Saliba nor Mavroponas but I am told they are both quick, in which case I trust our Manager will give them an opportunity to perform particularly as neither Gabriel nor Mari have impressed me this season.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Grandad, “trust” must be earnt. The important factor will be does Saliba trust Arteta and Arsenal to treat him fairly?

  13. Semaj says:

    Wonder why he was not been chosen for the French u 23’s.

    1. Reggie says:

      Perhap due to his ban! Or at least suspended ban.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Reggie, people seem to have forgotten the disciplinary action the French FA imposed on Saliba.

    2. Grandad says:

      Because they have a group of very talented young backs who are already proving themselves with top teams.Foffana is not usually a first pick which just shows the wealth of talent available to France.

  14. RSH says:

    Shameful watching Fofana doing so well while Saliba was cast out and neglected this season for basically no reason. Oh wait, Arteta thought Mustafi was more important, and David Luiz would be more helpful. Both gone in a matter of weeks now and neither have made much of an impression this entire season.

  15. Sean says:

    Do not waste any money on CBs this summer & Let Saliba come in to take Luiz spot in the squad plus Mavraponas could sign a new deal and go on loan back to Stuttgart who want him and he has hinted he would stay for a season loan again. Or sell Chambers & Let Dino take his spot.

    Gabriel Saliba Mari Holding
    Those 4 would be fine for next season

    Bellerin needs to go and be replaced along with a decent LB as Tierney is great, a warrior even but for that reason, just abit injury prone but is captain material.

    The middle is alot harder as the only starter is Thomas. Xhaka wants to leave, Elneny into last year like Laca & Matteo plus Torreira needs to leave for his own sake and career. Cabellos will be going back to Madrid along with Ødegaard. Willock & AMN to return from loans….

    Bissouma would be great to replace Xhaka & Elneny. I would let Matteo & Willock come back Into the fold (broken foot anyway) then sell Torreira and buy a CM attacker like Aouer to play behind the middle behind striker to help SmithRowe plus play where Cabellos has plenty of chances beside Thomas if needs be.

    Then theres Laca, Eddie & Willian to deal with. 1st two into last year come summer and the flop wants to leave.
    Eddie sell, get some money, hello Balogun. Sell Willian to highest bidder, come in Miami 6m will do & Laca is a hard one I am still stuck on.

    1. Sean says:

      Leno & Ryan
      New RB & Soares
      Saliba & Holding
      Gabriel & Mari
      Tierney & New LB
      Thomas & Matteo
      New CM & AMN or Willock
      Smithrowe & New Att CM
      Saka & Pepe & Nelson
      Laca & Bolagun
      Auba & Martinelli

      Starting RB
      Decent LB Backup
      Centre Midfilder (Bissouma?)
      Attacking Midfielder (Aouer?)

      Then maybe a striker if Laca thinks his time is done at Arsenal. Just means selling;
      AMN or Willock

      That’s alot of transfers or add ons in negotiations for other players from the likes of Brighton or Sheff Utd For Berge & Bissouma (eg).

      Massive chance of no European Football next season so we have to be smart and I know Aouer may be well out of range but some one like him even.

  16. Son says:

    Come on guys, this guy played against a PSG side that has Mbappe and Neymar and was not dribbled past in the match. We have an ignorant inexperienced manager who thinks he knows whereas he’s destroying the talents at his disposal.

    Those of us saying he’s only 20yrs old, let me ask you how old is De ligt, Soyuncu, Saka, ESR, Fofana. Seriously what has the senior players(Holding, Chambers) produced to warrant them playing in the team

    Saliba is good enough and with the right coach and training facility(at Arsenal) will get even better.

    1. durand says:

      Thank you for the perspective. It’s a combination of the young man’s talents and a manager that can use those talents properly.

      Arteta said Saliba was not ready after seeing him play in two pre-season matches and in training.

      The same Arteta saw Willian jog around the pitch, produce nothing, yet gave him boundless opportunities, believing he was ready.

      Perhaps it is more on the manager failing in his identification than the player.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        As it keeps being proven; Arsenal currently “wouldn’t know a good footballer, if he rose up out of the grass and bit them on the arse” .

  17. Fisayo says:

    My Arsenal line up for next season would be.
    A. Lacazette

    Aubameyang S. Rowe B. Saka

    Y. Bissouma T. Partey

    Tierney Hakimi
    W. Saliba R. Holding


    1. Jimmy Bauer says:

      How I live your Line up Fisayo..But Hakimi?..You expect him to leave Inter for Arsenal with no European football and no guarantee of getting one next season?..

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