William Saliba

Arsenal defender William Saliba has claimed that Mikel Arteta played a key role in convincing him to stay at the Emirates this season.

Saliba has been excellent for the Gunners so far this campaign, becoming a mainstay in Arteta’s starting XI and playing every single minute in the Premier League.

The Frenchman was signed by the Gunners as an 18-year-old in 2019 but had to wait three years to make his debut for the north London club.

The highly-rated centre-back has had three loan spells away from the club following his move to the Emirates, with Saint-Étienne, Nice and Marseille, respectively.

However, he has cemented his place at the heart of the Gunners defense this season thanks to his commanding and assured showings.

Saliba has opened up on Mikel Arteta’s role in convincing him to stay this season and has also hailed the Arsenal boss for his clear ideas regarding the game.

Saliba told Canal Plus, as quoted by The Mirror:

“We spoke a bit at the beginning of the season. He was happy with what I did whilst on loan. He’s a very good coach, who really knows what he’s doing. He is clear in everything that he says.”
He further said:

“He has helped me integrate quickly into this system of play. Every day he gives advice to be better on the pitch. I came back here [to Arsenal] to impose myself and it’s nice to start well, as I have.”
Saliba has admitted that he is still developing as a player and intends to become even better with more experience.

He added:

“We have had a very good start to the season until the match at Manchester [United]. We [were] first and we want to continue like that. As everyone knows, I didn’t play. For me, it was better to go away.”
He continued:

“I’m a young player and it’s always better to play and gain experience, make errors and learn. If you don’t play, you can’t progress. For me, going away for a year-and-a-half was good. I came back stronger, with new ambitions.”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta deserves credit for the development of Saliba
Saliba was signed by Arsenal as a promising teenager back in 2019 by Unai Emery, but sending him on three successive loan spells raised many eyebrows.

Mikel Arteta had to deal with a lot of criticism for not trusting the Frenchman, who made his debut for France before making his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt. However, Saliba’s showings this season prove why Arteta was right in his decision to let the youngster gain valuable first-team experience on loan.

Saliba looks like a future star and could be the backbone of the Arsenal defense for many years to come.

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