William Saliba and Konstantinos Mavropanos will return to Arsenal this summer after their successful loan spells at Nice and Stuttgart respectively.
The young French defender failed to convince Mikel Arteta that he was ready for the Premier League at the start of this season. The Arsenal boss kept him away from the squad until January, and he then shipped him out on loan to Nice.
Dinos Mavropanos, on the other hand, joined Stuttgart on loan last summer after a successful six-month spell at Nurnberg. A meniscus injury early in the season forced him to undergo surgery. He returned to full fitness in November and has been an integral part of the side since.
Arsenal only have one spot left to be filled in central defence thanks to David Luiz’s departure. Gooners would love to see both Saliba and Mavropanos in the squad for next season, but Arteta might have to choose just one, and we’ve offered him some help below.
William Saliba vs Konstantinos Mavropanos: Who should Arsenal keep?
In 19 starts in the Bundesliga this term, Mavropanos averages two tackles, 2.8 interceptions and three clearances per game. He commits 1.1 fouls, gets dribbled past 0.9 times and wins just 0.2 offsides every 90 minutes.
The Greek defender averages 46.1 passes per game, out of which 3.4 are long balls. Sadly, his passing accuracy is a mediocre 79.2%, which will only go down in the Premier League due to the difference in pressing and intensity. (WhoScored)
Saliba, on the other hand, averages 0.8 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game – both inferior to Dinos. However, his 4.1 clearances, 0.8 fouls committed, 0.7 offside wins and the fact that he has been dribbled past just 0.1 times this season makes Mavropanos’ numbers look pretty average.
With the ball at his feet, Saliba puts his Arsenal teammate to shame. He averages 74.1 passes, 4.9 long balls and has maintained a stunning passing accuracy of 91.3% per game this season. (WhoScored)
Both Saliba and Mavropanos have had decent campaigns out on loan, but it’s clear who the winner is. However, it all comes down to the type of centre-back Arteta is looking for in his squad for next season.
If he wants someone who is dominant in tackles and aggressive in interceptions, Mavropanos is the man for him, but if he prefers someone who is miles better on the ball and barely lets anyone ever get past him, Saliba is the one.
From what we’ve seen from Arteta so far, it’s clear he wants someone who has the quality to do what Saliba has done this season. As a result, we think that the Frenchman will be retained ahead of Mavropanos this summer.