Saint-Etienne boss Claude Puel thinks William Saliba is the right player for Arsenal, and he can quickly make himself a starter at the club.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 13: of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on September 13, 2019 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
ST ALBANS, ENGLAND: William Saliba of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on September 13, 2019. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Speaking to The Athletic this week, Claude Puel gave his opinion on his departing defender William Saliba.

Puel definitely didn’t get as much time to work with the future Arsenal centre-back as he would’ve liked, joining in late 2019 and seeing the French season end early in 2020. Still, the 19-year-old clearly made an impression in his 17 appearances on the pitch.

“He is ready,” Puel said. “He is a fantastic player. He’s a young player but with a lot of maturity in his play. Also, in his life. He is a player with a good feeling and spirit.

“It will be hard for us without him. But I think it is a fantastic opportunity for Arsenal. I think they need a good centre-back and have done for some time, and I think William is the right player.

“I think he can play all the time in the first team at Arsenal.”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Saliba can play for Arsenal this season, however long it drags on. He’ll move to London this summer, though, and possibly start to integrate with the squad on the training pitches once his Saint-Etienne contract ends.

After that, Arsenal fans will wait impatiently for the chance to see him in action next season. We shouldn’t put too much pressure on the French u20 international, but it’s just nice to have a young defensive talent around the first-team to get excited about.

Whether through lack of academy options or hesitance to give them sufficient chances, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a teenage centre-back make a serious breakthrough at Arsenal. Saliba definitely opens up that possibility.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.