It’s ‘totally mystifying’ to regular observers of Arsenal defender William Saliba as to why he hasn’t been given an opportunity to shine at the club yet, according to Daily Star journalist Paul Brown.
The 21-year-old joined the Gunners from AS Saint-Etienne back in July 2019 for a reported £27 million before being instantly sent back on loan to his boyhood club.
What is the latest news involving Saliba?
Despite being an Arsenal player for nearly three years, Saliba is yet to make a single first-team appearance for the north London outfit.
He enjoyed a successful six-month loan spell with OGC Nice after joining them halfway through 2020/21, though, making 22 appearances in all competitions, prompting Marseille to swoop for his services last summer.
Saliba joined Jorge Sampaoli’s charges at the beginning of the current campaign and has continued to excel for the Ligue 1 giants.
The 6 foot 4 gem has started 30 of Marseille’s 31 top-flight fixtures to date, playing a pivotal part in their rise to second place in the division, helping them record the joint-second best defensive record.
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As per WhoScored, Saliba has won 1.2 aerial duels while making 1.4 interceptions, 2.2 clearances and 0.4 blocks per league game, placing him in the top two for each metric when compared to his teammates.
His outstanding displays for the Stade Vélodrome outfit earned the youngster his first call up to the senior France squad in the most recent international, and Didier Deschamps handed Saliba his first caps against Ivory Coast and South Africa.
What has Brown said about Saliba?
Despite Mikel Arteta’s positive comments on Saliba, Brown has revealed that people who watch Saliba week in week out are bemused at his situation at present.
He told GiveMeSport: “Arteta keeps saying that he’s got a future, and he wants to see him and see what he can do.
“But it’s totally mystifying to people in France who watch Saliba every week and think he’s a great player, as to why he’s not really had a chance.”
What is Arsenal’s current centre-back situation?
Gabriel and summer signing Benjamin White have formed a solid partnership at the heart of Arsenal’s defence this term, keeping Saliba – who is valued at £34m – out of the picture.
The capital club have leaked just 36 league goals, the fifth-best record in the top-flight, and their centre-back pairing has arguably been one of the most consistent in English football.
Breaking that duo up will be hard for Saliba then, but if Arsenal can secure European football next term, there should be plenty of game time for all three to thrive.