Oleksandr Zinchenko has told Rio Ferdinand that his Arsenal teammate and French centre-back William Saliba has what it takes to become the best centre-back in the world.
The 22-year-old joined the Gunners from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019 but spent the following three seasons on loan with the Ligue 1 club, OGC Nice and Marseille before establishing himself as a key player under manager Mikel Arteta last term.
Saliba featured in 27 Premier League games before an injury in March ruled him out of action for the rest of the campaign.
He has been tipped to become one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League going forward, and Zinchenko believes so.
“Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce. So good. I love him so much. Absolutely,” the Ukraine international told Ferdinand when asked if Saliba can become the best centre-back in the world.
“I did not know him before I came to Arsenal. When I saw him in the first training session, I said who is this guy. The first game against Chelsea in pre-season, zero mistakes. When he scored the goal against Bournemouth, I went on my knees, because I said this guy, he can do everything.
“He can do everything. I played 100 games, I did not score yet, and he did in two games. Defensively, he makes no mistake. He is so calm on the ball. For me, the difference between a world-class centre-back and a good one is when you play with the ball when you can put the ball out and take no risk.
“This guy is on a different level. It seems like there is still a lot of space to improve. He needs communication, to be a leader, to push the others and manage them.”
The youngster signed a new long-term deal until 2028 last month and has been given the number 2 shirt.
His injury-forced absence last term derailed Arsenal title’s challenge, with the side winning just five of their last 11 league games.
Suitors across Europe were monitoring his situation before he signed a contract extension, with Manchester United and Bayern Munich keeping tabs on him.
The Gunners have rewarded him with an improved deal and will hope he stays fit for the entirety of the new campaign.
Arsenal will look to challenge for the Premier League title again and also impress in the Champions League and other competitions, and Saliba and co have the needed qualities to lead their side to major trophies.