Arsenal need to do everything in their power to re-sign William Saliba

By Swapnil
9 Min Read

The latest round of reports suggests Arsenal are in big trouble as their star negotiations with their young star’s entourage have hit a wall after failing to agree on the terms of the deal.

After a superb 2022/23 Premier League campaign, Arsenal have begun their task of tying up all the important first-team players on long-term deals. Gabriel Magalhaes was the first one to commit his future at Emirates Stadium back in October with extensions for Bukayo Saka and Aaron Ramsdale being completed with only the official announcement now remaining. Gabriel Martinelli also has agreed to terms and signed a deal that will run out in 2027.

As RMC Sport reported this week that it has not been smooth sailing on contract talks with Saliba and with clubs like Real Madrid circling around to get his signature. Arsenal are confident they can get this deal over the line but time is not in their corner as this January he will be eligible to talk to other clubs for a free transfer. When Mikel was quizzed on this matter earlier this month he said,

“We want to keep our best talent. Especially the players that deserve some recognition. I think he has been incredible since he came back from his loan period and we want to reward him, that is for sure. We will find the right moment to do that. Obviously [technical director] Edu and the board are on top of every negotiation regarding new contracts and now we are doing everything we possibly can to do that in the right moment at the right time. The communication and the relationship is super. It is about timing, I think. Nothing else.”

Here’s some of the reasons why Arsenal should do everything in their power to stop their young star from leaving the club:


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After years of mismanagement, Arsenal Football Club look like they are the club young players or any player for their matter would want to play for. The famous red and white shirt once worn by the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, and many more became a bit tough to attract players. The club went from the best place in London to play and watch football to the second or even the third best. The shine and glory that the Gunners had at Highbury went somewhat missing at the newly built Emirates. Wenger, who in his prime managed to pluck stars from relatively unknown places, now found himself fighting teams with unlimited budgets and greater scouting networks. It seemed like the great football had lost its way.

After a tough spell under Wenger’s successor Unai Emery, the club appointed a rookie manager and former legend of the club Mikel Arteta. A FA Cup and a Community Shield in the first half season was followed by really bad displays by two consecutive eighth-place finishes. The owners Kroenke’s stuck by their man and last season he delivered narrowly missing out on the Champions League spots to Tottenham. And this season, the young team has finally come out to show their true potential with a young core of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Aaron Ramsdale, and Ben White all having the best seasons of their careers with Saliba the man the Gooners faithful were the most impressed by.

After a tough start to life with Arsenal with loans to the Ligue 1, Saliba and Arsenal seemed to have found the connection everyone was hoping for when the club paid £27m back in 2019. His instant progression as a starter for Mikel Arteta’s side has changed the way the side defends.


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If you have a look at the numbers, the Gunners have a win percentage of 78 percent this season. Without him, that drops to 44%. On average, Arteta’s side gave up 0.9 goals per game with the Frenchmen on the field and 1.9 without him. When the 22-year-old starts, Arsenal have averaged 2.4 points per game. When he doesn’t, that drops to 1.7. They also concede more shots on their goal which stands at 11.8 compared to 8.3. Not just the important metrics, even the numbers see a drop off in the amount of time the side has the ball which drops from 61% to 56%, passing accuracy goes 4% down and shots taken are eighth best in this league rather than the best.

The Frenchman’s ball-playing ability and line-breaking passes which unlocked opposition defenses are the qualities the side depends on and without the output of their young star they looked lost for answers left by the questions in his absence. Even ex-Liverpool player and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher highlighted his importance in this side by saying,

“This idea that they weren’t conceding goals, or looking vulnerable, with Saliba at centre-back is a myth. After the World Cup, they were looking completely different defensively. They were still getting the results, but they were conceding goals. Then, without Saliba, they drop even further. I don’t think him being there for the full season would have meant that Arsenal would have gone on and won the title. I’m sure they would have been a lot closer, but there are still things he needs to improve on.”


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I know those are some big words but if we look at the things William Saliba has done at the age of 21 and the qualities, teams in this era of football are looking for it. It is easy to wonder if this player will define his generation. Will he be on the level of a Paolo Maldini, Franz Beckenbauer, Franco Baresi or a Alessandro Nesta at the end of his playing time? I don’t know if we have to wait and watch.

He is by no means feat a finished product. He still needs to improve a lot and he hasn’t the experience of playing continental football where teams and players of amazing quality play against one another to prove themselves on the biggest stages of club football. He will get that chance when Arsenal returns to play on Tuesday and Wednesday nights next season.

Arsenal should be able to convince that re-signing from the club is the correct step for his own progression and the development of the side which now for sure looks to challenge for multiple trophies next season and in Mikel Arteta they have a manager who can continue to take this side on to the next level. The Frenchmen has the trust of a manager who is difficult to please, with the head coach claiming, “He had an immediate impact. He took out every question mark that we could have with him and gave us all the reasons to play him. He’s been exceptional since that day.”

In Saliba, Arsenal have one of the brightest young talents in world football, and if the collapse in form and quality are anything to go by, it’s that they have to do all they can to make sure they keep hold of him.


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