Arsenal agreeing a new contract extension with William Saliba this summer was even more important than signing Declan Rice.

That’s off the back of Arsenal’s 1-0 away win at Crystal Palace last night.

Crystal Palace v Arsenal FC - Premier League
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And whilst both men played a starring role, Saliba has one again proved he is one of the world’s best.

Why Pele Is Overrated.

Admittedly, comparing the impact of Saliba and Rice might be little like splitting hairs, but the point is empathising just how crucial the Frenchman is.

It did take a little bit of time for both parties to agree to a new deal but Saliba’s contract was officially extended at the start of July.

The 22-year-old is now under contract with the club until the summer of 2027. 

And a fully fit Saliba back in the side really will prove to be more important than any new signing.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that The Gunners could be entering this season as league champions were Saliba not injured on that difficult European night against Sporting CP.

Saliba’s contract extension was even more important than Arsenal signing Rice

Mikel Arteta is now blessed with a squad that contains genuine world-class players.

And when the going gets tough like it did last night – owing to an extremely harsh refereeing decision, those players stand up.

Crystal Palace v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

And whilst there will be other times when Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka will drag Arsenal to results, last night it was the turn of Rice and Saliba.

Both players were admirable in Arsenal’s rear guard efforts as they sat in and defended for long periods.

Along with the help of experienced heads like Gabriel Magalhaes and Jorginho the side were able to see out the result.

A game they could have easily lost a few years ago.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal project took a huge leap forward at the beginning of last season.

And it’s no coincidence that William Saliba had just made his debut for the side.

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