Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta decided to loan out William Saliba to Marseille at the start of this season and that gave rise to a ton of criticism.
The Frenchman joined us back in 2019 but is yet to play a single minute of competitive football in the famous red and white. Most Arsenal fans were furious about the decision to loan him out but Arteta may just have been right.
Saliba has impressed at Marseille and even earned a senior international call-up, which is an incredible achievement. However, there are still flaws in his game that prove he’s not ready for the Premier League just yet.
The serious flaws in Arsenal defender William Saliba’s game
GFFN have detailed the two sides to Saliba’s game – one which makes him look like one of the best young defenders in the world, and the other that shows serious flaws that would’ve made him an easy target in the Premier League.
The French outlet explains: “Despite steady improvement under Jorge Sampaoli at OM this season, Saliba remains a defender with two personas.
“The first and increasingly dominant version is unerringly calm, serene and assured. He glides across the backline to extinguish danger with an air of authority while his passing is snappy, graceful and helpfully progressive.
“The other Saliba is easily unsettled, indecisive and slow to react when the opposition amps up their intensity or press. He’s static in his positioning and looks over-awed. Meanwhile, lacking the ability to impose himself physically and take charge generally is an issue for whichever Saliba turns up.”
Mikel Arteta was right after all
Mikel Arteta was under immense pressure from fans, pundits and the media to give William Saliba an opportunity in the first team. However, the Arsenal boss was adamant that the 20-year-old wasn’t ready for the English game.
The fact that there’s a side to Saliba’s game where he’s ‘easily unsettled, indecisive and slow to react’ would’ve made him an easy target in the Premier League. He would’ve been exposed against the better sides if he was here, more so than he is in the French top-flight.
A full season on loan where he has played almost every single game in all competitions will benefit Saliba massively. He’s already a better player than he was at the start of this season and he will only improve further in the coming weeks.
Arteta has arguably been right so far and he will have a decision to make on Saliba’s future again this summer. It will be interesting to see if the Arsenal boss will be convinced about him this time around.