Manchester United Opinion: Why the Red Devils should go for William Saliba?
According to a report from the Daily Record, Manchester United appears to have turned their attention to Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba, as his agent was pictured in Manchester on Sunday.
William Saliba, 18, broke into Saint-Etienne’s first-team in September and the Frenchman had a brilliant debut season in France, making 16 appearances for Jean-Louis Gasset’s side which finished fourth in Ligue 1.
Arsenal have been monitoring the teenager’s situation for some time now as Unai Emery aims to strengthen his leaky backline. However, Saliba’s agent Djibril Niang has hinted that the young defender could instead be joining United after he uploaded an Instagram story from Manchester.
That being said, will William Saliba be a good fit at Manchester United?
United have been linked with a number of defenders already in the first couple of weeks of the summer transfer window, as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to rebuild his squad. It is no surprise to see the Norwegian addressing the defence after his team shipped over 50 goals in the Premier League this past campaign.
Ajax’s Matthjis de Ligt has been strongly linked, while the Red Devils have also been tipped to make a move for Thomas Meunier, Kalidou Kouliably and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. William Saliba is the latest name to be linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Given United’s defensive problems, Solskjaer has a central defender in mind and wants to add young, promising and dynamic blood with a massive potential in the position. The likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly have underperformed this past season, while Marcos Rojo had another injury-hit campaign.
The Reds do have Victor Lindelof as the first-choice defender, but are running short of a player to partner him in central defence.
Certainly, Saliba could be that player for Solskjaer’s side. The talented Frenchman starred for Saint-Etienne during his breakthrough season and has rightfully earned a lot of plaudits from all across Europe. He’s big enough, smart enough and strong enough to be a world class defender for the next 15 years.
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The teenager is a ball-playing centre-half, who is not afraid to venture forward and pick out midfielders or forwards with his accurate passes.
Saliba also has a good sense of positioning that allows him to cut off passing lanes or immediately stop any potential counter-attacking opportunities. His tall frame makes him an intimidating figure for the attackers and also hands him a significant advantage in the air.
Saliba, as discussed earlier, is a ball-playing defender, which could make him an ideal defensive partner to Lindelof. Therefore, the young Frenchman seems to be a perfect fit for Solskjaer’s United from all perspectives.