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William Saliba has returned to North London with a point to prove, and the centre-back has already received quite the praise from former Gunners’ striker Kevin Campbell.
Campbell, who made 224 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 60 goals along the way, has likened Saliba to Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.
He continued that the Arsenal defender is “never flustered.” He describes the Frenchman as “smart, quick, strong, physical, powerful” and a player who “does not make mistakes.”
He believes that “extra year at Marseille” has “really helped his [Saliba’s] confidence.” Campbell asserted that Saliba has returned to Arsenal “mature.”
Mikel Arteta has received his fair share of stick for the way he has handled Saliba since taking over at the Emirates in December 2019.
Arteta had the chance to utilise Saliba’s qualities during his first full season, but instead opted to loan him to OGC Nice halfway through the dampaign.
After that spell away from the club, many expected the Frenchman to finally be granted playing opportunities, but he was again loaned back to Ligue 1.
Instead of keeping Saliba last term, Arteta decided to splash out £50 million to sign former Brighton man Benjamin White.
Arsenal fans were understandably confused, and many questioned whether the Frenchman would ever feature for the Arsenal first team.
This season though, it seems like the stars are finally aligning for Saliba at Arsenal.
So much so that a contract renewal could be on the cards for the France international.
He has featured regularly during pre-season and whilst he’s been on the pitch, the Gunners haven’t conceded a single goal.
If the promising young defender can even somewhat emulate van Dijk’s Liverpool career at Arsenal, Gunners’ fans will be very pleased indeed.