William Saliba has taken the Premier League by storm. In just a few months he’s not only grown into Arsenal’s best defender but also into one of the Premier League’s best.
Arsenal have slipped up just once this season and are holding onto 1st in the league with Saliba being pivotal to that feat.
Saliba’s contract expires in 2024, but Arsenal and Mikel Arteta remain confident in keeping him at the club.
“If that was a bit of damage there , because obviously he had certain expectations and something happened, but again he was so committed and so focused just to play for Arsenal that I think it took all of us by a little bit of surprise. So if I look at how he talks about the club and how much he wants to be here, I have no doubts that he wants to continue to be here.”
I personally feel Saliba’s entourage is aware of the strong hand they have up their sleeve and won’t look to push on the matter for now. With Saka in line for a bumper new contract, that might be what sets the precedent for their contract talks. David Ornstein had this to say on the subject: “The situation, as I understand, is that he is not in a rush to come and sit down. He is focusing on his football.”
Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba clicked in the pre-season and never looked back since. The two can squeeze up the pitch, bully attackers on and off the ball and challenge anyone in a foot race. The partnership is reminiscent to that of Van Dijk-Matip when they first got together at Liverpool.
William Saliba has won possession more times than any other centre-back in the Premier League this season.— Squawka (@Squawka) October 7, 2022
The Van Dijk regen faces the real thing at the Emirates next. 🧬
Even though Saliba has been relatively flawless for now, Gabriel has shown big improvements in his game but that panicky side of him comes out in small moments here and there. If he can cut those out, Arsenal, and I can’t stress this enough, are SET.
Two physical monsters with big steps and a turn of pace on them. What’s not to like?
They shorten the pitch for opponents as they look to push up at any given opportunity. If you watched them regularly you’ll realize why Arsenal can afford to have the 2nd highest defensive line in the league, just behind City. Play into attacker’s feet and they’ll challenge you aggressively in a duel. Try to play over them and they’ll cover the yards. This style of play means you’ll get countered here and there, as United have shown recently but overall it’s a very effective way to dominate the opposition.
THE MATURITY OF SALIBA
If you were to watch him play for the first time this season and if you had no previous knowledge of him, you’d never be able to tell that this is his first season in the Premier League. He’s just such a natural, I’ve said it before but he plays with such ease, sometimes he looks like he doesn’t get out of first gear and yet utterly dominates attackers. He’s that good.
Saliba’s a towering presence at 6ft4 and yet so agile and quick. His understanding of distance is remarkable for his age.
He backs himself in any duel and even if you were to get the better of him in duels here and there (Mitrovic on a few occasions) you’re likely to get “beat up” in the process. He’s also a superb ball playing centre back and regularly progresses the play with his style while also keeping a very high passing accuracy on top of that (94%).
Signing him on would also allow for Arsenal’s young backline to keep growing together with Saliba (21), Gabriel (24), White (24), Tierney (25), Ramsdale (24), Zinchenko (25) and Tomiyasu (23).
To sum it up, Arsenal must do everything in their power to keep a hold of William Saliba. I’m 100% sure Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern will be all over him if Arsenal don’t manage to make it happen. He’s already one of the first names on the teamsheet. Do I believe they’ll make it happen? I think so. Everything points to it being concluded, sooner or later. An Arsenal fan from a young age who’s waited on his chance and took it with both hands when it arrived. Hopefully, it gets done soon.