Arsenal could have their very own Virgil van Dijk next season in the form of William Saliba.
The French starlet enjoyed a stellar 2021/22 campaign while on loan with Ligue 1 outfit Marseille, registering a whopping 19 clean sheets – a hugely impressive feat for a player who is still just 21-years-old. Saliba’s underlying metrics are equally as impressive.
In fact, the reigning Ligue 1 young player of the season boasted the best ‘true tackle’ success of all 1207 players across Europe’s top five leagues to attempt over 40 tackles according to Squawka, something that Liverpool stalwart van Dijk managed during his memorable 2018/19 season. Of course, that is not to suggest that the Frenchman is currently near the level of the Reds’ centre-half, but he has plenty of time to blossom into a world-class defender in the coming years.
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Some transfer rumours had suggested that his development would continue with Marseille but Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta confirmed on Tuesday evening that the talented youngster is needed back in north London next season.
Speaking about Saliba to RMC Sport, via GFFN, Arteta said: “He has to come back. He has the experience and the necessary environment to be competitive with us.
“If he had stayed with us this year, with one Premier League game a week and with Ben White and Gabriel, he wouldn’t have had half the game time he had with Marseille, that’s for sure. In terms of his growth and what he could do next year it wouldn’t have been good.
“William wasn’t with us because he wouldn’t have had the playing time required to gain experience. That’s it, nothing else.”
Source by Football London