Mikel Arteta has showered praise on Arsenal defender William Saliba, admitting that the defender looks ready to contribute in the new season.
THE LOWDOWN: SALIBA IMPRESSES ONCE AGAIN
Arsenal battered London rivals Chelsea 4-0 in Florida at the weekend to continue their perfect pre-season run. Gabriel Jesus, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and Albert Sambi Lokonga got the goals as the Gunners recorded a fifth straight warm-up win ahead of the new Premier League season.
However, one man may not be on the scoresheet but his performance impressed everyone watching, as well as Mikel Arteta. William Saliba played in the heart of the defense alongside Gabriel Magalhaes, as Arsenal shut out Thomas Tuchel’s side, with a defense that also had new signing Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ben White.
The Frenchman might not be among Arsenal’s five summer signings so far but his return from loan comes with a breath of fresh air, almost like that of a new signing.
The game against Chelsea was not the first time that Saliba impressed, as he also had a brilliant game against Everton, with the team keeping a clean sheet as well. These back-to-back brilliant performances mean he is now ready to lay a stake for the starting spot in a competitive Arsenal defence.
THE LATEST: ARTETA LEFT IMPRESSED
Despite signing for Arsenal in 2019, Saliba is yet to make a competitive appearance for the club. However, Arteta believes the education he got while on loan has been invaluable.
Speaking after the win against Chelsea, he said to the club’s website:
“I am really pleased to see the way he is playing, the way he has adapted to the team, the maturity that he’s shown at 21 years old; carry on doing it,”
“We will keep developing him, he has a huge potential, he is already a top player and we have to make him even better.
Asked if Saliba was ready for first-team action, Arteta added: “He looked ready to me today.”
THE VERDICT: BIG SEASON AHEAD
William Saliba has been the subject of discussion among Arsenal fans on social networks. Some fans believe he should have seen first-team football since 2019, while others believe Mikel Arteta got it right by loaning him to gain more experience.
Despite his heroics while on loan with Marseille, he has to show that he can do it with Arsenal by earning his place. His talent is huge and the competition he brings is great for the club.
However, regardless of all opinions, Saliba is here and looks set to get his chance in the team. He has a big season ahead of him, as he has to compete for a place with Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes. Arsenal will now look to get Saliba to sign a new contract and sort out his future at the club, amid interest from other sides.