Despite a positive Arsenal debut by William Saliba, pundit and former Gunners man Lee Dixon has raised his concerns about the Frenchman.
THE LOWDOWN: QUICK-FIRE START
William Saliba, who Arsenal signed from Saint Etienne back in 2019, returned to the club this summer after spending years away on loan. The Frenchman has since shown promise with his excellent displays right from the preseason preparations.
Fast forward to his debut in the Premier League against Crystal Palace last Friday, Saliba was at his best once again as the Gunners began the season on a winning note. He went home with the man of the match award and many have been impressed with his beginning.
THE LATEST: FEAR
One man Lee Dixon, who has been impressed, did raise his fears concerning the rising profile of the centre-back.
Speaking on the Seaman Says Podcast, Lee Dixon has expressed some concerns about William Saliba despite his fantastic Premier League debut for the Gunners.
“He performed brilliantly well, Saliba, 21 years of age, he’s been away and everyone’s now saying ‘where’s he been?’ He’s been learning his trade and doing the right thing. Chelsea loan out 50 players a year and nobody says anything. We send one out and it’s as if we don’t know what we’re doing and we should have had him back earlier,” Dixon said.
“Come back to me in 37 games and we’ll give you an assessment of how Saliba has done. As well as he’s done and as confident as he looked on the ball, that could go, I don’t know him as a player under pressure at Anfield where he gets nutmegged and gives a couple of goals away, he might go to pieces. You might have to leave him out of the team because he’s now a broken footballer and you need to protect him. There are a million questions to be answered, but you can only give an opinion on what you’ve seen.”
THE VERDICT: ONLY A MATTER OF TIME
Dixon has valid reasons to be doubtful of Saliba. As a young centre-back like him, there is so much to learn and be taught.
His physical and technical attributes are there for all to see, but his confidence, attitude, composure and ability to handle pressure are also important to compete at the top level.
All the signs surrounding Saliba are very positive at the moment, but we can’t be certain that he’s the finished product just yet. Only time will tell!