Martin Keown gives a realistic assessment on William Saliba

Martin Keown has warned that William Saliba cannot be expected to walk right into Mikel Arteta’s team from the off.

Arsenal signed Saliba from Saint Etienne last summer, but they allowed him to remain at the French side for the 2019/2020 season so that he could further his development.

He impressed greatly for his former team and he even helped them reach the final of the French Cup.

He has now returned to Arsenal and he is expected to be an important part of the Arsenal first team for the 2020/21 season.

Arsenal has been struggling at the back for a long time now and he will be a part of a new-look defence that Arteta hopes will stop the Gunners from leaking goal unnecessarily.

Keown admitted that the France under-20 player must be under pressure and that he will have preferred for him to have been part of the Arsenal team for the just-concluded season, before adding that he shouldn’t be expected to just walk straight into this Arsenal first team.

Asked if he felt there was undue pressure on the France Under-20 international, Keown told the PA news agency via Football365: “There definitely is.

“It is one of those where I would have been happier if Arsenal had paid more money and brought him in straight at the start of last season.

“There have long-been questions over the Arsenal defence and Saliba was expensive, but he is also young and has not played that many professional games.

“It can’t be expected that he will walk straight into Arsenal, right into the team and be on it from the off.”

Tags Martin Keown William Saliba


  1. Typical comment from an ex pro highlighting the fact that Saliba is young and inexperienced.Well Martin, I would remind you of the appropriate saying, if their good enough, their old enough.

    1. Grandad, I would also remind Martin Keown that he himself made his first team debut at 19 for Arsenal. Tony Adams made his first team debut, 4 weeks after his 17th birthday and was captain at 21.

  2. I think the defense needs to be one of the priority of the coaching staff and the management, because last season we conceded some unnecessary goals which were not good for the club.

  3. What is Martin talking about? Pressure? Saliba’s job is to play football ball and he is obviously one of the best in his position in the world right now within his age bracket.. I have watched the man play over and over in the French league his performance has always been above most what does he mean by “He hasn’t played so many professional games”.. I watched his performance against PSG.. Lyon and Monaco the boy is a beast and people comparing him to VVD clearly saw what I saw.. I expect some fans to just be pessimistic just so if it goes that way they will say I told you so.. but in truth we have a gem in WS.. I am confident we don’t have a defender that can keep him on the bench.

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