Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hails William Saliba impact as Premier League debut looms: ‘He’s ready’
The French defender has yet to make a single competitive senior appearance for the Gunners since joining from Saint-Etienne some three years ago.
Instead, Saliba has been dispatched for three successive loan spells back in Ligue 1, watching new centre-backs arrive at the Emirates and push him further down the pecking order amid real doubts over his long-term Arsenal future.
However, the 21-year-old has excelled during Arsenal’s impressive pre-season campaign after returning from a productive year-long stint at Marseille that also led to him earning his first senior international caps for France.
Saliba featured in every match during Arsenal’s tour of the United States, catching the eye with his consistently high standard of performances that culminated in a commanding showing in Saturday night’s 4-0 drubbing of London rivals Chelsea in the Florida Cup final in Orlando.
Arteta has been delighted with Saliba’s swift progress and appears in no doubt that the player is now ready to finally make his mark in English football.
“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,” Arteta said. “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.”