William Saliba will get the chance to win his place in Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side in pre-season this summer, according to a report.
CBS Sports report that sources indicate Mikel Arteta plans to give William Saliba a chance to win his place in the first-team setup in pre-season this summer. He’ll be returning to North London after a loan spell with OGC Nice from January to May.
Despite only going out on loan in the second half of the campaign, Saliba has played 19 times for Nice already. He hasn’t had any of the injury problems that plagued his 2019/20 campaign with Saint-Etienne, which is encouraging to see.
Saliba’s irregular appearances in 2020 were the main factor in his lack of integration with Arsenal this season, according to Mikel Arteta and the player himself.
But the only two games Saliba has missed since joining Nice were through ineligibility and his Covid infection. In both cases, he immediately returned and played 90 minutes in the next game.
With the uncertainty around David Luiz’s future, Saliba also offers a profile Arsenal arguably lack in defence. More than just ball-winning, Saliba excels in his progressive passing and carries, particularly switching the play and passing under pressure.
The centre-back has the ability to get the team going in possession, on top of the fact he’s in the 90th percentile for interceptions and the 89th percentile for percentage of dribblers tackled in Europe’s top-five leagues.
He’s not faultless, with the stats suggesting he makes too many individual errors and only wins an average number of aerial duels considering his height. But he’s young, there’s time to iron that out and he still looks an improvement on what Arsenal have.