Sunday, May 22, 2022

Arsenal Face Battle To Keep Hold Of Defensive Prodigy: Should Mikel Arteta Let Him Leave?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Ekrem Konur, Marseille are keen on securing a permanent deal to sign William Saliba. The Arsenal defender joined the club on a season-long loan deal in the summer, but his impressive performances have forced the team to consider a permanent switch. As such, they are expected to soon begin talks with Arsenal, in order to try and prolong the defender’s stay in Marseille.

William Saliba’s Success At Marseille

William Saliba has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence since his loan move to Marseille in the summer. He joined the club after being snubbed by Mikel Arteta prior to the start of the campaign.

While it seemed like a mundane move at the time, it has worked out wonderfully well for Saliba, who has emerged as one of the top performers for Marseille so far in this campaign. The Frenchman has appeared in 12 league matches, building a formidable defensive partnership alongside Luan Peres and Duje Caleta Car.

Their collective contributions have helped Marseille enjoy an excellent start to the season, with Saliba, in particular, being a standout performer. The youngster has indeed made quite an impression with his defensive solidity, and his technical prowess which has added another dimension to the Marseille backline.

In addition to his defensive skills, Saliba has impressed the onlookers with his pace as well, making him one of the most intriguing young defenders in the Ligue 1 this term.

Arsenal defender William Saliba
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 08: Adam Roscrow of AFC Wimbledon holds off William Saliba of Arsenal during the Papa John’s Trophy Second Round match between AFC Wimbledon and Arsenal U21 at Plough Lane on December 08, 2020 in Wimbledon, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)
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Should Arsenal Keep Hold Of Him?

Arsenal are currently ruing the decision to mistreat William Saliba, not even giving him a single opportunity at the senior level. But now, given his rapid rise to prominence, the youngster could be an ideal addition to Mikel Arteta’s defensive setup.

While the defensive trifecta of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes has done well for the most part this season, the club lacks proper alternatives, with both Rob Holding and Calum Chambers facing an uncertain future at the club.

There are question marks over Pablo Mari’s long-term prospects at Emirates, which could make Saliba an excellent asset for Arsenal next season. His pace, technical prowess and ability to read the game could combine well with Gabriel, thus making him a potential alternative to White.

However, it won’t be surprising to see Saliba denying the opportunity to return to Emirates in favour of a prolonged stay at Marseille. The player has already built a solid relationship with Jorge Sampaoli and his fellow teammates at OM, while his poor treatment at Arsenal is still fresh in the memory of the French defender, so we might see the Ligue 1 giants secure his services permanently this January.

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