Former Arsenal central defender Mikael Silvestre believes that William Saliba can play a ‘big part from day one’ next season for the Gunners.
In an exclusive interview with Bet Pennsylvania (via The Sun Sport), the Frenchman, who also played for the Gunners’ arch rivals Manchester United, expressed that the 18-year old has been playing well for Saint-Etienne this campaign and that he has certain qualities to be successful for the north London club and in the Premier League.
This is what he had to say on the young centre back: “William Saliba will start from the get-go when he joins Arsenal next season. He’s currently playing for a struggling Saint-Etienne side, but his performances have been good and he’s been consistent.
“Defensively he’s strong, so he’ll be looking to impress in pre-season. He’ll need to adapt in that period, but he has enough time to learn from the Arsenal staff and players. He’s still very young but has great experience from his time in Ligue 1.
“He’ll continue to learn from the current centre-backs but he’ll have a big part to play from day one.”
Saliba has made 17 total appearances in all competitions for his French club this season, but has missed out on 22 more appearances due to various injury problems, according to Transfermarkt. Arsenal have had injury problems to defenders in the past and especially this campaign, with the likes of Hector Bellerin, Calum Chambers, Skhodran Mustafi and Kieran Tierney also missing for long periods. That is an entire back four and the Gunners will not want to add William Saliba to that list next season.
He has also never played in the Premier League before and so he would have to be able to adapt to the pace and physicality of the game. However, the Frenchman is fairly experienced considering his age, racking up a total of 36 senior appearances in all competitions for Saint Etienne. Saliba’s experience playing senior football could aid him in adapting to the Premier League.
The 18-year old was bought by the Gunners last summer under Unai Emery but loaned straight back to the French club for the campaign to continue his development. Silvestre certainly thinks that he will hit the ground running, but only time will tell.
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Arsenal fans, does Saliba get into the first team for next campaign? Let us know in the comments down below!
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