Arsenal defender William Saliba has been a talking point all summer and manager Mikel Arteta has provided an update concerning his contract situation.
THE LOWDOWN: BACK TO ARSENAL
French defender William Saliba has returned to Arsenal after an impressive loan spell at Marseille last season. He was excellent at the heart of the defence for the French outfit as they finished second in the 2021/22 Ligue 1 season, thereby returning to the Champions League next season.
Saliba also won the young player of the year in Ligue 1 and received a call-up to the France national team in the process and received praises across the world for his performances.
Arsenal signed Saliba back in 2019 from Rennes and has spent time away from the club at his former club and Marseille.
However, he is now back at Arsenal, currently on the USA preseason tour with the team. He impressed in the victory against Everton and will now be given the chance to prove himself in the side this coming season. For the young Frenchman, his ambition will be to nail down a starting berth at the expense of either Gabriel Magalhaes or Benjamin White.
THE LATEST: DESERVES TO PLAY
The centre-back has played a few times for the Gunners in their preseason tour of the US. He impressed against Everton and Orlando City, and might slowly be playing himself into coach Mikel Arteta’s plans for next season.
Arteta answered questions on Saliba a few days ago, insisting the defender will be part of their squad for the coming season. “He’s in the plans,” Arteta said. “We cannot guarantee first-team football to anybody in this team – you can ask that question to anybody.”
“What we guarantee is that the ones we really see and think are going to take us to the next level, they’re going to be playing a lot of minutes. It’s about what you do tomorrow and he’s going to have the chance to play.”
THE VERDICT: A NEW DEAL FOR SALIBA
Since signing for Arsenal since 2019, he is yet to play a competitive game for the team and has just few years left on his deal. Just some day ago, Barcelona identified him as a possible option if they fail to sign Jules Kounde.
With the current fitness issues of Ben White, Arteta and Arsenal should not waste time in engaging Saliba on talks of a renewal. Pablo Mari is currently out of the list of centre-backs at the club, so Saliba’s future should be treated immediately.
It will be disastrous to allow the defender’s contract to get into the final year without getting him on a new long-term deal. Saliba’s quality is evident and Arsenal’s squad is already shaping up nicely, tying him down would definitely take the club closer to the kind of dream team they want.