Name: William Saliba
Date of Birth: 24 March 2001
William Saliba – his career so far
Even though William Saliba is currently still out on loan at Saint Etienne over in France, that doesn’t make his talents and potential any lesser than they actually are. The now 19-year-old defender signed for Arsenal in the summer of 2019 but the Gunners decided it would be best if he stayed with his team for the remainder of the ongoing season.
Of course, it still remains to be seen what happens with his loan deal in regards to all of the recent developments in the outside world but sooner rather than later, Saliba should be back at the Emirates where he belongs.
His breakthrough season happened with the team he’s currently at when he was aged 18, in 2018/19 campaign, as he tallied 19 appearances across all competitions, making a name for himself over in Ligue 1 and turning a couple of heads along the way as well.
Les Verts also secured their Europa League spot with Saliba in their ranks, influencing their play and giving them that defensive solidity to finish the season strong. In 2019/20, Saliba featured 17 times across three competitions for the French outfit, even tallying 180 minutes in the Europa League as well.
It should be noted, however, that constant injuries meant he was unavailable for a total of 14 games in the ongoing campaign and the fact that the season was abruptly put on hold also played a part in his rather low tally of matches.
But that still doesn’t take anything away from the fact that he’s already gaining valuable experience as an important first-team player who started and finished all of the games when he was fully fit, only sitting on the bench or being used as a sub when he was just returning from injury.
And with such achievements, while aged just 19, it’s difficult not to believe the hype surrounding him.
There was a lot of talk regarding Saliba recently. Even though it’s not necessarily transfer news per se, former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell insisted the young defender has to have a big role at Arsenal upon his return to the Emirates following his loan spell in France. Seeing how he’s been such a consistent part of Saint Etienne, maybe that statement is not that much of a stretch despite the player being only 19 years of age.
But the biggest hurdle Saliba will have to jump over and the big Arsenal news fans must be expecting is surely about his current deal with the French side and how the recent outbreak impacts the whole situation – is he going to have to stay in Ligue 1 for another season or will the Gunners get him back for the 2020/21 season?
As of right now, we still don’t have a clear answer and no transfer news have confirmed either of the options. Only time will tell.
The thing that immediately stands out in Saliba’s player profile is his towering physique. Standing at 193 cm and with an extremely muscular frame, the Frenchman is definitely a nightmare for attackers even before they enter a duel with him.
But he is not just strong but also fast, agile and really intelligent in his movement and positioning. At the moment, he seems like the whole package as he has everything a modern centre-back has to have.
Of course, winning aerial duels is something he excels at as he can brush the attackers off the ball and outmuscle them on most occasions. In 2019/20, he managed to win 62.6% of his 3.27 aerial duels per 90 minutes across all the competitions he took part in.
On a similar note, he also won 55.1% of his loose ball duels, which is a testament to both his speed and strength when fighting for the ball with his adversary. We also simply have to make note of his incredible 13.2 recoveries per 90 minutes in 2019/20 and 4.08 interceptions.
And since centre-backs have to be technically good in modern football, Saliba is seemingly fitting in quite nicely with his 44.15 passes per 90 minutes with 89.7% accuracy and 4.2 passes per 90 minutes into the final third.
Saliba’s return to the Emirates will surely be among the best Arsenal news the Gooners can get in the near future.
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