Arsenal opinion: William Saliba would be a smart addition for the Gunners
According to a report from the Metro, Arsenal are weighing up a summer move for Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba.
The 18-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign for Saint-Etienne, making 19 appearances across all competitions. His performances were rewarded with a four-year deal in April by Les Verts, with the Ligue 1 club anticipating offers for the youngster this summer.
The report claims Manchester United are also interested in William Saliba, but Arsenal have been tracking the youngster throughout the season. Both Arsenal and Manchester United have been poor defensively this past campaign but it’s the former that should win the race for Saliba’s signature.
The Gunners conceded 51 goals in the Premier League in Unai Emery’s first season at the club. That shows how leaky their defence has been, even with the addition of Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Sokratis arrived at the Emirates from Borussia Dortmund last summer and while he has made a difference on and off the pitch, it is not enough for a club of the stature of Arsenal.
The Gunners enjoyed a 22-game unbeaten run in all competitions after losing the first two league games this past season, but Rob Holding’s injury in December massively hurt the north London club’s chances of securing a top-four finish.
Above all, Shkodran Mustafi has been awful for Emery’s men and could be sold this summer for his error-prone displays. Nacho Monreal is out of contract in June, while Laurent Koscielny isn’t getting any younger.
Thus, a new central defender is an absolute necessity for Arsenal and Emery would make a wise decision by signing William Saliba.
Saint-Etienne are set to finish fourth in the Ligue 1 table and will play the Europa League next season, which suggests everything about Saliba’s impact at the club.
The Gunners don’t have the financial clout to compete with the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool; thus, they need to make smart signings.
Standing at 6ft 4in, Saliba is a strong and powerful centre-half with the ability to win every single aerial duel against his opponent. He is hard as nails, which allows him to keep the opposition at bay with the utmost ease.
The teenager is a composed ball-playing defender and despite possessing a towering frame, he is quick through the ground as well.
While there might be questions about whether or not he can adjust to the Premier League, it should come with time. But Saliba’s physical traits and ball-playing qualities will play a big part in helping him fit at Arsenal.
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Thus, a move for Saliba makes perfect sense for Unai Emery’s side.