Jorge Sampoali outlines what Arsenal are missing this season with William Saliba report
Saliba’s questionable time at Arsenal
William Saliba, a 27 million pound signing in 2019 from French side Saint-Etienne, is yet to play a minute of senior football for Arsenal. In perhaps one of the oddest transfer stories, the man once hailed “one of the most promising young centre backs in France” has spent the last three seasons on loan in Ligue 1, with three different clubs.
🚨 Marseille reach agreement with Arsenal to sign William Saliba on 1yr loan. #OM to pay #AFC loan fee but no option to buy. 20yo still needs to have medical before embarking on 3rd spell away since signing in 2019. No new contract discussed @TheAthleticUK https://t.co/0CDDoyvlc1
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) July 12, 2021
Following stints with Saint Etienne and OGC Nice, the defender has since joined Marseilles for the 2021-22 season, and has been quick to impress. In their opening five games, he has helped limit the goals conceded to just 5, which has resulted in his side reaching second place in the table at the early stages.
Still only 20 years old, he is very much learning his trade, but with the addition of Ben White to Mikel Arteta’s squad, fans are questioning where the youngster fits into the North London clubs’ plans.
Sampaoli full of praise for Saliba
One major winner of the whole situation, however, are Marseilles. Saliba has become a massive part of new coach Jorge Sampoali’s defensive group, stationed on the right-hand side of a back three.
And, speaking ahead of their tie against Angers, who have also had a fantastic start to the season, the Marseilles boss was quick to heap praise on his loanee, saying:
“He’s a top player at his post. We had the chance to bring him on loan, it was not easy.
He is good at marking but he has a good recovery too. It’s a great future. of French football, he is very good at the recovery. He has adapted well to the defense at 3, and his performance is also linked to the team which likes to start from behind. “
[Quotes taken from RMC Sport via Sports Witness]
With two years left on his contract at the end of this season, could Arsenal rue the treatment of Saliba, or could he prove a fantastic addition to their side next season, with another full campaign under his belt?