William Saliba’s new shirt number could give insight into his Arsenal role

William Saliba is set to wear the number 2 shirt at Arsenal for his first year in the first-team squad this season, which could well be an inclination to his role.

The Frenchman joined the club in 2019, but he is yet to make his senior debut, instead enjoying three successive loan spells in Ligue 1.

Last term was his strongest yet, helping Marseille to a second-placed finish in the French division whilst picking up the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award, whilst also earning a call-up to the senior France team.

Whilst there was many reports linking him with yet another loan spell, Mikel Arteta seems to have made his intentions clear, and Saliba is now set to battle it out with the likes of Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes for a first-team role.

Whilst it remains unclear just how much of a role he will be expected to play, the club has given him the shirt number of 2, previously occupied by Hector Bellerin, which could well indicate that he is set to play a key role in our upcoming campaign.

It’s a little exciting that we are finally to see what the young centre-back can bring to our first-team, as we have been craving this for three years now, and I feel like he is ready to make a difference in our side.

Who should be most worried about the return of Saliba to the fold, White or Gabriel?

Patrick

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24 Comments

      1. It doesn’t mean he’ll start all the games (maybe he’ll take time to adapt to the team anyway, who knows), but it shows we want him to feel involved.

  1. I saw pictures of him in training at arsenal. Shame will be on pple who wishes he leaves so they can pin it on Arteta

  2. I hope he signs contract extension with us and turns into a world class CB for us and leads us into the CL for next season

  3. We won’t know how the pieces will be deployed until we see the look of the squad when the dealings are done.

    The possible addition of Martinez adds a new dimension – does anyone really believe there will be 4 CBs competing for 2 places? I don’t think that sounds right.

    Martinez can play DM/LB as well, so he may be the “versatile defence role”. White may also be a good DM, probably better than at CB since his weakness (a bit slow) is less exposed and his strengths all work there.

    Alternatively, there may be a 3CB formation in the offing.

    Whatever’s in mind for defence, I expect to see some differences in style of play next season. With Eddie and Jesus, the front players are much more suited to a press style for a start. How that affects the rest of the formation… we may see soon 🙂

    The personnel available affect the choice of playing style – if you don’t have the players for a press, it’s not wise to try to play one.

    1. Ben White “a bit slow” ? The fact is he is one of the quickest centre backs in the EPL.The quickest is Gomez of Liverpool who has been unfortunate with injuries.

    2. hahaha 1 of his best trait is quicknes. infact when ever he makes error it is his speed that help him recover quickly. hell no ben white is not slow

  4. P.S. The article says he had 3 loan years – not sure that’s quite right is it?

    I thought he had two, one year was effectively null and void due to lockdown?

    Iirc he has a contractual loan-back to St Etienne, then he came back for pre-season training and it was decided he wasn’t ready (MA had taken over from UE). A loan was arranged but covid got in the way so no football was played that season.

    Obviously, he didn’t advance if he wasn’t playing, so the loan rolled over to the next year just gone at Marseille.

    Basically, there’s only ever been one real decision point in his 3 years – the decision to loan him out after he first came back from the contractual loan at St Etienne.

  5. In answer to the articles question, every PL forward!!
    I have seen enough of Saliba to think he will be in the bracket of TA, SC, MK and KT, let alone Gabriel and White.

    I’m so confident, I hope Mikel can persuade him to sign a three year new contract.

    1. Good to know Ken. I just hope our fans show a bit of patience if he does not not the ground running.

  6. Good to have him back and hopefully we kick on from here.

    Would like to know what’s the contract situation surrounding him now.
    Its paramount we get this sorted out as quickly as possible.

    His contract should be renew at all cost, if it even means sending him back to France with a brand new three years extension.

    1. Like to hear the announcement Saka & Saliba’s new contract extensions sorted before we start the season.

      Hopefully still Teilimans to come in or Martinez and a winger, my personal favourite would be Gnabry on a 4 year deal.

  7. George Sampoali quit as boss of Marseille because he was frustrated Marseille couldn’t raise the funds to buy Saliba this summer.

  8. I am hopeing we tie down Saliba and saka to long term contract before start of the season.
    In terms of signing , I am optimistic there will be few more incomings .
    The window is still alosnt two month to close.
    We alreday have the core group of players who can start few games easily and are good enogh to beat the likes of Palace. I think Arsenal are now playing the wiating games as they know the priority signings are done. So we arenal fan have to be patient

  9. Welcome back Saliba.
    Now is time to continue your progress. Just knuckle down and keep working hard..

  10. Fake news, go on the premier League website it is not true.

    Bellerin is wearing number 2 in training. He will free it up if he leaves.

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