Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was full of praise for William Saliba following the club’s stunning 4-0 win over Chelsea in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.
The Gunners have been in superb form during the course of pre-season, and picked up a fifth-straight victory with a convincing performance over their London rivals.
Saliba started at the heart of the defence alongside Gabriel Magalhaes, and the duo put in a solid performance over 90 minutes. The Blues were barely a threat on goal.
Speaking after the game, Arteta was ‘really pleased’ to see Saliba’s progress and his ability to adapt. The Spaniard also highlighted his maturity and huge potential.
The Gunners went on to emphasise that he is already a top player and can get even better at the club.
He told Arsenal.com: “I am really pleased to see the way he is playing, the way he has adapted to the team, the maturity that he’s shown at 21-years-old, carry on doing it.”
“We will keep developing him, he has a huge potential, he is already a top player and we have to make him even better. He looked ready to me today.”
Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney have been nursing injuries over the past few weeks.
Against Chelsea, we saw Ben White and summer signing Oleksandr Zinchenko start in the right-back and left-back roles, and it could be similar for the Premier League opener.
Arteta will be wary of playing Tomiyasu and Tierney until they are fully fit, given their recent injury records. The club may need to stay patient before reintroducing them.
Meanwhile, Saliba is finally proving his worth to the Gunners. He was anticipated to make his debut back in 2020, but was instead sent out on loan spells to France.
The decision has proved worthwhile with him coming back stronger. The Frenchman now looks set to establish himself as a leading star at the heart of the club’s defence.
Arsenal’s main priority for now, should be to extend his contract expiring in June 2024. Positive talks have been held with his agent and hopefully, a renewal is agreed soon.