Do Arsenal even need William Saliba? Who could he replace?

Is there really space for William Saliba in the Arsenal team right now? By Sylvester Kwentua

When William Saliba joined Arsenal in July 2019, he was expected to have a smooth transition into the Premier league, and into the Arsenal team. Joining from Saint-Étienne in France, the defender was surely expected to come and solidify Arsenal’s defence. However, he was returned to France, to continue playing with the club he was coming from, albeit on loan.
Saliba is spending the second year of his five years contract at Arsenal, and apart from a few pre-season games he has been involved in, he has still not gotten a real feel of what playing for Arsenal is like, rather he has been on loan at several great clubs. Playing on loan in France for clubs like Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille, and doing well, is a sign that this young talented defender knows how to play; but then why has he not found it easy breaking into the Arsenal team? After his current loan deal expires, will he be asked to come back to Arsenal and try his luck again, or be asked to leave? Or even sent on another loan?
I am definitely not Arteta, neither am I a part of the Arsenal’s management, but my gut feeling tells me Saliba will be asked to go on another loan deal when he returns, and this may be the trend until his contract expires at Arsenal. Here are my reasons.
Saliba is good:
Lets face it, every club William has played for, he has made his mark. At Saint-Etienne, he was virtually on fire, and little wonder when Arsenal signed him as they had Tottenham and a few other big clubs to contend with. He has found playing time at Arsenal difficult, for no fault of his own. In football, we have heard or read of certain players not playing for a club they signed for, and most times, it is usually not the fault of the players. However, as much as William has not really gotten the opportunity to play for Arsenal, he may just be kept by Arsenal, hoping that someday, he may just get the opportunity he deserves.
Current Arsenal defenders on form:
William Saliba may be lighting up the French league with his football, but Arsenal’s current set of defenders are also doing the same in the EPL. A coach hardly changes his winning team, most especially a defence that has gotten an understanding of each other. Our central defensive pairings, White and Gabriel are doing decently well. The full backs are creating waves from their positions, and the backup defenders are capable of doing a decent job too, if called upon. With a defence that is doing well, Saliba may need to just wait for a period where Arsenal may be faced with a defensive crisis, and will need an emergency backup.
Saliba’s age:
At 20 years of age, William is playing well as a defender, and if he continues in this form, in a few years time, he may be lording it over attackers from his defensive positions. If he still remains at Arsenal while getting to that age of impact, it becomes easy for Arsenal to get him to replace a defender who may have totally lost form, or was leaving.
So guys, would you prefer the club selling William outright or you want the club to still retain ownership of Saliba?
We are Arsenal and proud.
Tags William Saliba


  1. He has to replace Holding who can likely be sold for £15-20 million.
    He can then fight it out for a first team spot

  2. He has to be retained IMO. Maybe a 3man defense will be the way from next season. A defense of Saliba-White-Gabriel should do well.

  3. I do really think homegrown quota is why Saliba isn’t included in our squad but the way it is atm, I doubt we could ever see him play for us because it will be difficult for him to come back and become squad players and none of us pray for long term injury for either of of new cb duo.

    I really feel for him, though he’s got enormous talent, I really can’t trust a 20yo CB as our main man for the whole season especially the one who is unproven in epl. It’s all still guesses and no real prove, and Benjamin seems to bring in something different and more experienc

      1. Correct, he’s on loan because A playing every week is better for him now than competing with Gabirel/white/holding even every week and B because of his own personal things that meant being in France was better for him.

  4. Here’s the issue, he’ll have two years left on his contract at the start of next season. If he stays at Arsenal but doesn’t get many games next season then it’s unlikely we’ll be able to extend his contract, which leaves us in a position of probably needing to sell but for a much lower fee than he’s worth due to him being in the final year of his contract.

  5. Arteta fanboy…..

    Saliba must not be good enough if Arteta has loaned him. We need more Guendouzi articles confirming arteta was right all along! he’s only on France’s bench…. Haha he sucks!

    Both of these guys are top young players. We have been 5th for 1 week, maybe we should relax a bit and see how the season develops before we blow off our assets!

  6. Saliba better than Mari, Holding, and Chambers, and at 20 still loads more potential to be even better.

    With European football we need the competition at CB, and Gabriel and White still have over half a season to prove they are the best starters.

    Plenty of wrong player decisions to match all the right ones made by Edu and Arteta. A solid young CB to compete is great for the club, and I don’t mean Holding.

    1. Exactly Durand regarding Mari who was given a squad spot but seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth ,why Saliba couldn’t have been given his place is a mystery .
      I don’t see him wanting to come back here after the way he’s been treated ,he’s got 2 years left and he can just sit next season out and see what happens the season after .
      If anyone dare say what a lot of fans think about him not being an Arteta signing and speaking out of turn (Martinelli anyone )then the defensive Arteta fans come out in force ,for me it’s plain to see .

      1. Always thought it foolish purchase to bring in Mari rather than give Saliba a chance.

        2 years and wondering if Saliba is ready.

        Here’s a thought; perhaps if Arteta kept him, worked with him, and played him in cup games and early Europa stages over last 2 years he would be ready.

        Instead, 2 years later & wondering, when we could know first hand.

        To try and sell Holding, Chambers, and Mari as PL ready and claiming Saliba wasn’t is naive and arrogant. As if Arteta was “ready” when he got his chance.

        Pot and kettle stuff really, bad management looking back 2 years.

        1. I’d say loaning him to clubs where he plays every single game over 2 years makes him more ready. Arteta seems to agree.

  7. We needed Saliba to replace our erratic CBs, but I heard Arteta considered him as a bad influence and Arteta required a CB with a great long-passing ability

    If Saliba joins us next season, he’d likely replace Holding. I don’t think Saliba is willing to play second fiddle to White, so he’d likely be sold in the summer

    1. I think GAI there was an element in Saliba’s demeanour that concerned Arteta. I would like to think that a talent that cost the club many millions would show enough to come back and do it for us rather than some other team.

      1. What demeanour would that be Sue ?
        Someone who was signed 3 years ago and as been pushed out because he spoke out .
        This a young player who wherever he as gone as gotten rave reviews, let’s not make it an issue about a player but maybe it’s an issue with who’s in charge .
        Just a thought when labelling a player when you do not know the whole story

        1. Totally agree it’s not about demeanor. Arteta has repeatedly stated he sees Saliba coming back and Saliba himself is on record with the same unlike Guendouzi. So maybe stop making pointless digs at our manager. Marseille have not even been that impressive even if Guendouzi/Saliba are playing well and vying with others to be their 2nd/3rd best players this year. He’s getting games week in, week out, precisely what we want.

        2. I am only suggesting immaturity Dan kit and of course I don’t know him any more than you do so I am not labelling him at all. I have named Saka and ESR previously who have kept their heads down and got on with it. I would very much like to see him back at Arsenal but only if he is able to contribute to the success of the team. That goes for him and any other player on loan. You clearly think that Arteta is the problem and I don’t but then we both know that we disagree on the value of Arteta to Arsenal

      2. Don’t think it was demeanor. He felt he wasn’t ready and needed regular game time and also considering Saliba’s personal life last thing he needed was being thrown into the premier League media/social media circus.

      3. I thought so SueP

        Hopefully Arteta is willing to give Saliba a chance. But as I said, Saliba might not want to be White’s backup

  8. Just reading some of the posts above, the rumour mill seems to be in full swing again.
    I would ask that people listened to what Saliba, Edu and MA have said about this seasons loan deal and stop speculating.

    I am certain that Saliba will be with us next season and I would remind people of Adams, Bould, Keown, Campbell, Toure and how these players fought to be the first name on the sheet.

    We can NEVER have enough top players and Saliba must be given enormous credit for the way he has conducted himself – a star in the making for The Arsenal is my prediction.

    1. You are 100% correct. All parties involved are on record as being happy with the arrangement and him joining the squad. No debate.

    2. Even if they dont know about those guys they mentioned, haven they seen how Nuno strengthened our team already? It is not a headache if KT misses a game or two or maybr even more, we can not just rely on just two good defenders, we need a competition almost every position to get to where we need to be

    1. We currently have 2 and Salina makes it 3..
      Mari abs holding are decent but not champions league level where we want to be.

      All the other big sides have competition for places.. look at city with Diaz, stones abs Laporte fighting for 2 spots or at Liverpool where they have vvd, Gomez and konate

      1. 👍 👍 Four good CB’s are a minimum for a a club like Arsenal, due to the demands of the position and propensity for injury.

  9. Guys, some of write as if Gabriel and white are made of steel and there is no need of another quality defender, I hope you don’t reason the same way you write. Top teams do not jus have one quality player in each position.

  10. I agree with your earlier Saliba comments ken1945 but not so sure about your analogy, Keown was a bit of a squaddie and inbetweener that rarely got past Bouldy and Tone at their peak and who were both before Sol & Kolo when I think Senderos and Cygan made up the 4 central defenders, although Keown was still around as a squaddie then Cygan made a lot more appearances than him in the “Invincible” season

    1. FF, I was trying to remind others of the competition we had at times, even with GG’s defence and The Invincibles… but I take your point.

      Salibas, White, Gabriel, Holding and even Mari (as a Senderos type player) show that the CB situation is now a cause for being positive… And… Salibas is going to be such an important part of our future.

  11. 100 percent agree ken1945, apologies for being pedantic about the analogy

    In the here and now Saliba coming into the young squad that is being developed next season would be welcomed

  12. Yeh, yeh I get it! I’m a bit sick of articles downplaying Saliba and Guandiuzi’s performances just to prove that Arteta got it right. I saw one recently ( perhaps not on Just Arsenal) where after a 0-0 scoreline against PSG, Saliba was held responsible for his team’s failure to score. Moronic stuff. These are two players who still have a lot of promise and it would be a shame to lose them simply because they don’t comply with Arteta’s idea of what the perfect son in law should be.

  13. Saliba is very much required for Arsenal. We require atleast 3 top CB’s in the team, considering injuries, suspensions and Europe next season. Liverpool, City and Chelsea have atleast 4 top CB’s in their teams and so do Madrid and Barcelona. Saliba is too good a talent to be let go off.

  14. The truth of William Saliba’s loan back to St Ettienne, the first season of his transfer to Arsenal, was due to it being a requirement of St Ettienne as a condition of contract. If Arsenal had not agreed, St Ettienne would not have sold Saliba. It was not an Arteta decision. The second season was a different matter.

  15. Arsenal needs 4 very good central defenders for next season……Gabriel..White..Saliba..Tommy……..
    Hopefully we’ll be in for the League title..FA cup..Europe….maybe in 4 competitions so we are ready…….don’t need Mari and Holding but get another RB……….

  16. Saliba has a perfect build for CB. If he has some football intelligence too ..then we could have a top top bracket player. Much like VVD Laporte Ramos, he looks the part at a glance. He will have to sign another contract come summer. AFC won’t allow him to reach the last year of his contract. That’s what makes the loans very weird or even odder, if he plays one/next season at AFC, he will be into his last season on contract

  17. While Saliba is a good defender, there is a likelihood we wouldnt see him play for arsenal while arteta is in charge. Arteta demands his defender to have a certain passing range and saliba do not have those..

  18. have you not seen how Nuno strengthened our team already? It is not a headache any more if KT misses a game or two or maybre even more, we can not just rely on just two good defenders, we need a competition almost every position to get to where we need to be, if liverpool can make all their decenders happy, so can we? Saliba quifies as home grown, so, He has to be offered new contract, and arteta must give him confidence that he can compete, and when he gets his chance if he does well, he has to keep his place, i dont care if white is an english or we paid 50 million, that is the same for Gabriel as well. White can end up as a midfielder if Saliba proves to be tough to compete with.

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