Thursday, August 11, 2022

Update On The Future Of This Arsenal Defender: Should Arteta Cut Him Loose?

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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 Independent offered an update on the future of Arsenal defender William Saliba. It is understood that the French centre-back wants assurances of a guaranteed starting spot next season or might be forced to leave the North London club in this off-season.

Saliba’s Impressive Loan Spell At Marseille

Saliba had a solid loan spell with Olympique Marseille as he performed at a high level for them on the defensive third of the pitch. The 21-year-old made 51 appearances for the French club last season in multiple competitions.

The French powerhouse gave a good account of himself by averaging 1.5 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 2.2 clearances per game in Ligue 1. He also took care of the ball well when distributing it from the back, as evidenced by his pass success rate of 93.1% in the French top tier (stats via whoscored).

Arsenal (William Saliba)
Marseille’s French defender William Saliba looks on during the UEFA Europa Conference League match between Basel and Marseille (OM) at the St. Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel, northern Switzerland, on March 17, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images) The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

Should Arsenal Boss Mikel Arteta Cut Saliba Loose This Summer?

Saliba is a tough-tackling defender who can sense the danger quickly to earn possession back for his team. He usually clears his lines when needed and can use his strong 1.92m frame to dominate the opposition in the air. The French youngster is even proficient at playing his way out from the back. He is primarily a central defender but can even function as a right-back if his manager needs him to do so.

At the moment, Mikel Arteta has got Gabriel Magalhães and Ben White as his first-team centre-backs. Hence, the Gunners boss cannot afford to guarantee Saliba a regular starting spot at the Emirates Stadium next season.

At 20, Saliba has the potential to become a world-class defender someday. Thus, the North London outfit would be wise to promote the French prospect to their first team as he could grow into a future star for them in the Premier League.

Based on his recent loan spell at Marseille, Saliba has every reason to believe that he can be a regular starter for Arsenal. All in all, Arteta should not think about cutting Saliba loose this summer, especially when the youngster has still got two years remaining in his contract.

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