Arsenal seem to be very close to the signing of Gabriel Magalhaes, and it will feel like they have another new signing as William Saliba is back at the club after playing on loan at his former club Saint-Etienne last season.
Saliba is only 19 but many supporters of the club seem to be very excited about his role at the Gunners this season, and they may be even more eager to see what he can do following comments from someone who has coached the player in the past.
Jean-Luc Vannuchi, who coached Saliba whilst he was playing for the France under-18s, has heaped praise on the centre-back and, speaking to The Telegraph, he said of the youngster: “He is a mix of the two [Varane and Van Dijk’s] styles. With Varane because of his speed and power, and with Van Dijk it is the interceptions, the positioning on the pitch.
“When he took the ball and ran into midfield, no one could stop him. He was like a monster compared to the others. When he played with St-Etienne it looked normal for him, even though he was so young.”
This bodes well for the Gunners, and Saliba being held in such high regard highlights the scale of his potential. Virgil Van Dijk came second in last year’s Ballon d’Or vote, whilst Raphael Varane has won the World Cup with France as well as four Champions League titles with Real Madrid. If the young Arsenal defender can even go close to emulating those achievements, then the Gunners will have done a great bit of business by signing him in his formative years.
It is clear to see why he is rated so highly by Vannuchi as he was a rock in defence when he played in Ligue 1 last season, as he managed on average 1.6 tackles, 1.8 interceptions and 2.9 clearances a game, per WhoScored.
These figures bode well for Arsenal and Saliba, while to have his former manager drawing comparisons with the likes of Van Dijk and Varane suggests that the 19-year-old has a very promising future ahead of him at the Emirates Stadium.
Gunners fans, how good do you think Saliba will go on to be? Let us know your views by commenting below!
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