Jorge Sampaoli thinks Marseille were lucky to pick up William Saliba on loan this season, marking him as a future great of French football.

joie - Gerson Santos Da Silva Olympique de Marseille - William Saliba Olympique de Marseille FOOTBALL : Olympique de Marseille vs AS Saint Etienne - Ligue 1 Uber Eats - Marseille - 28/08/2021 NorbertScanella/PanoramiC
joie – Gerson Santos Da Silva Olympique de Marseille – William Saliba Olympique de Marseille FOOTBALL : Olympique de Marseille vs AS Saint Etienne – Ligue 1 Uber Eats – Marseille – 28/08/2021 NorbertScanella/PanoramiC

William Saliba made his sixth appearance for Marseille on Sunday, or seventh if you include the abandoned match against Nice.

Marseille kept their second consecutive clean sheet, and the Arsenal loanee put in another positive individual display. His loan manager Jorge Sampaoli has since been raving about their new acquisition.

“He’s a top player in his position,” Sampaoli said (via Sport Witness). “We were lucky to get him on loan, it wasn’t simple. He’s great at marking, but good at bringing the ball out too. He’s a future great of French football, he’s very good at starting plays.

“He’s adapted to a three at the back well, and his performances are linked to the team’s, which likes to play from the back.”

As we covered last week, Saliba’s statistics in possession have been particularly impressive recently. That was the case again over the weekend, as he put on another performance of accurate passing and successful dribbling.

Here’s the game-by-game breakdown of Saliba’s passing so far with Marseille:

  • Montpellier (A) – 61/64 passes (95%), 1/1 long balls
  • Bordeaux (H) – 93/97 passes (96%), 5/5 long balls
  • Saint-Etienne (H) – 94/98 passes (96%), 2/2 long balls
  • AS Monaco (A) – 52/57 passes (91%), 2/3 long balls
  • Lokomotiv (A) – 111/114 passes (97%), 4/5 long balls
  • Rennes (H) – 65/66 passes (98%), 3/3 long balls

That means that in six appearances, his pass accuracy is yet to dip below 90% in a single one, and the average number he completes is 79. He’s also completed eight of his nine attempted dribbles across those appearances.

If Saliba can keep this form up and stay fit for the majority of the rest of the campaign, there’s really no reason why he shouldn’t get a chance at Arsenal next season.

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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.