Sunday, August 14, 2022

Newcastle United Are Keeping Tabs On This French Defender: Good Option For Bruce?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, The Chronicle has claimed that Newcastle United are keeping tabs on Arsenal defender William Saliba’s situation at the Emirates Stadium over the past 18 months. It has been revealed that the Magpies have been monitoring the French centre-back’s progress during his recent loan spell at OGC Nice in the Ligue 1 ahead of a potential move this summer (via The Chronicle).

Saliba’s Impressive Loan Spell In French Football Recently

Saliba made himself a regular starter for Nice in the second half of the previous campaign and put in some commanding displays for them at the back. The 20-year-old scored one goal and picked up three yellow cards in 22 senior appearances for the French outfit last season across all competitions.

The Bondy-born talent has performed well to average 0.8 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 4.0 clearances per game in the 2020-21 Ligue 1 campaign. He even distributed possession immaculately out from the back based on his pass success rate of 91.3% in the French first division (stats via whoscored).

At 20, Saliba has still got a lot of room to improve his overall game and establish himself as a regular starter at the highest level. His career at Arsenal seems to have come to a standstill, so Newcastle would be wise either to sign him on loan or permanently during this summer transfer period.

Newcastle United are keeping tabs on Saliba who is seen in the picture

Will Saliba Be A Good Option For The Magpies?

Saliba is a decent tackler of the ball and can use his strong 1.93m frame to dominate the aerial battle with the opposition. He is often quick to scan the danger and can recover well to clear his lines when required. The French youngster has proven his worth as an accurate passer of the ball but needs to overcome his injury concerns if he wants to turn his career around in the coming seasons.

Newcastle could be a good destination for Saliba as he will get a chance to earn regular playing minutes in Premier League football. An experienced manager like Steve Bruce could also get the best out of the French starlet next season.

The Magpies are in dire need to add more quality to their backline that shipped in 62 goals in 38 league matches in the previous campaign. Saliba fits the bill perfectly as he is a towering presence on the defensive end of the field and has what it takes to become a regular feature in Bruce’s first XI.

There is no doubt that Saliba will offer some healthy competition for Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and Fabian Schar for a starting place at St. James’ Park. With all things considered, the Gunners defender will be a decent option for Bruce to consider ahead of the new campaign as he will help the Magpies steer clear of the relegation zone in the English top-flight.

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