Thoughts on William Saliba and his Contract Situation
William Saliba joined Arsenal in 2019 along a host of other signings, as former DoF, Raul Sanllehi, went gaga that summer, bringing 11 players to the club spending £138m in the process. £27m was used to procure Saliba from AS Saint Etienne, and the prospect of having him at the club was exciting to say the least. He was shipped back to his former club for one season to gain more experience and Arsenal must have had the scouting team watching him consistently and providing valuable info to the manager and coaching staff. His return campaign with St. Etienne was marred with injuries, but he still managed to make 17 appearances for the team in his farewell stint with his boyhood club.
Upon returning to Arsenal at the end of that campaign, we managed to catch a glimpse of Saliba in one preseason friendly, but he was shipped out on loan again to OGC Nice, where he made 22 appearances and even won the Player of the Month award in January for the club.
Saliba was even in contention for the Player of the Season award due to his outstanding performances with Nice, and one wondered if he was ready to make the step up this season with David Luiz leaving the club, but he was loaned yet again, to Marseille this campaign. According to WhoScored, Saliba has a 93.2% pass accuracy in Ligue Un for Marseille while averaging 1.7 tackles per game, 1.3 interceptions per game, 2.1 clearances per game, 0.5 fouls per game and 0.4 blocks. The French defender has been an ever-present for Marseille this season, making 33 appearances spanning across four competitions.
Saliba joined the club on a five-year contract and will see that deal expire in 2024, which makes this summer very critical for the Gunners in regard to his future. With Calum Chambers gone, Pablo Mari currently in Udinese with hopes of making a permanent move, Arsenal has only Rob Holding as the primary backup to big summer signing, Ben White, and Gabriel, so Saliba can actually return this summer to join the ranks and make a case for himself. The player confirmed that he wants to return to the club this summer and fight for his place.
Arsenal needs to give the lad an opportunity to showcase his talent, as English football offers other competitions where the likes of White and Gabriel can be rested. He can also feature in the early stages of the European competitions, and I believe Saliba is a talent that needs to hone his huge potential in the right enabling environment.
I hope his contract gets renewed for the foreseeable future and we will get to see him don the Red and White for a very long time.
Bonus Reading: The Curious Case of William Saliba.
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