Former Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas has heaped praise on William Saliba following his superb showing against Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby.
The Frenchman had to wait for three years for his Arsenal debut, and he has since been a revelation with a number of stand-out performances in central defence.
Saliba produced another top-class display against Spurs today, and Fabregas reserved special praise for him.
Speaking to BT Sport via The Mirror, the former Gunners captain said that the 21-year-old was so good as he made everything look easy on the playing field.
He said: “That was a fantastic complete performance. I’d like to mention the special name, the fact he was so good he made it look easy is William Saliba.”
Fabregas added that he was watching Saliba closely during his time on loan in France and believes he can be Arsenal’s leading centre-back for another 15 years.
He added: “I’m sorry but this boy was in France on loan and I was watching him very closely because an ex-Arsenal scout asked me three years ago when we were playing St Etienne in a cup match. I was rested so I was in the stand, he said ‘watch this boy, I want to sign him’.”
“He was 18, 19 and he was the best player on the pitch so that shows you the potential of this guy, he looks so easy, he could be Arsenal’s centre-back for the next 15 to 20 years.”
Saliba living up to his expectations at Arsenal
Saliba was touted for big things when he joined the Gunners three years ago, but had to wait for his debut.
The time away on loan has definitely proved worthwhile for him as he has matured into a top-class central defender, who is composed in and around his box.
He has also worked on his recovery pace in recent years, and we saw him comfortably steal possession from Harry Kane in the north London derby earlier today.
His performances have already made him an undisputed starter, and the onus is now on the Gunners to secure his future by committing him to a new long-term deal.
His current contract concludes in the summer of 2024. The board should act as soon as possible to ensure that the Frenchman does not enter the final year of his deal.
A number of elite European clubs will be monitoring his progress, but Arsenal stand a strong chance of extending his stay, having now assured him a starting spot.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com