Why Arsenal transfer target William Saliba will be worth the wait

first_imgWilliam Saliba will spend the 2019-20 season on loan at Saint-Etienne (Picture: Getty)With Laurent Koscielny entering his mid-30s, Rob Holding returning from a serious knee injury and Shkodran Mustafi hardly a reliable option, there is every chance that Saliba would have been given first-team opportunities in north London, perhaps alongside Sokratis Papastathopolous.Another pressing concern for Emery is that the initial €25m (approximately £22.5m) takes a sizable chunk out of his summer budget. There is a general consensus that Emery has just £40-45m to work with this summer before raising additional funds through player sales.Committing half a budget towards a player who won’t be available for another year is a risk considering there are numerous areas of Arsenal’s squad that requires strengthening and few existing players who would raise sufficient income if moved on.Long-term planningOn the flip side, Arsenal’s desire to get the deal done quickly indicates that they are willing to accept short-term pain for long-term gain, such is their confidence in Saliba’s potential to make the necessary step-up once he does finally join.It is precisely this kind of forward planning that Arsenal have been accused of lacking in the past. After all, the decision to hand Mesut Ozil a three-year deal worth £350,000 per week despite seemingly little interest in his services elsewhere occurred less than 18-months ago.AdvertisementAdvertisementArsenal have also committed big money – both in terms of transfer fees and wages – to more established players with little resale value, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (30), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (30), Sokratis Papastathopolous (31) and to a lesser extent, Stephan Lichsteiner (35) all joining in the previous three transfer windows.Although there has been worth to those signings, particularly with Aubameyang who shared the Premier League golden boot last season, there aren’t many big clubs who have directed so much of their budget towards older rather than younger players. Oliver Young-MylesThursday 27 Jun 2019 8:45 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link69Shares Advertisement Why Arsenal transfer target William Saliba will be worth the wait Comment Celtic defender Kieran Tierney is another young player on Unai Emery’s transfer wishlist (Picture: Getty)That Arsenal are signing Saliba and generally targetting players under the age of 25 this summer, such as Celtic’s 22-year-old left-back Kieran Tierney, suggests that they are beginning to modernise their transfer policy.Another factor in Arsenal securing Saliba’s signature early is that they could well have ended up being priced out of a move for him had they waited. Considering Saliba is already worth €25m after only 19 senior games for Saint-Etienne, his valuation is only likely to raise over the course of another season.Arsenal cannot compete with the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid or Juventus in the transfer market meaning they have to be more creative in the transfer market. Signing talented players yet to really explode onto the scene, is a smart way of doing so.Promising performances last seasonDespite only turning 18 on March 24, Saliba racked up 16 appearances in Ligue 1 last season – 13 of which were starts – and he certainly didn’t seem fazed when taking his first steps in professional football.Saliba averaged more tackles per game than any of his defensive colleagues with two, while only one-time Arsenal full-back Mathieu Debuchy averaged more interceptions with two to the youngster’s 1.8. He also won 1.8 aerial duels per game, which ranked third in Saint-Etienne’s squad.AdvertisementDespite his age, Saliba was able to physically dominate opponents in one-on-one duels, using his body to his advantage extremely well. Not only that, he reads the game exceptionally too given his lack of experience and his pace enables him to eat up lost ground if he does find himself out of position. Saliba demonstrated his versatility by filling in at right-back (Picture: Getty)As well as being solid defensively, Saliba also displayed good temperament and composure, picking up only one yellow card and completing 85.6% of his passes, highlighting his ability to distribute the ball effectively from defence.Something else that might have caught the eye of Emery and his watching scouts is that Saliba was used at right-back as well as in his natural position in the middle. Emery is a tactically flexible coach and having adaptable players capable of playing in different positions is something he would welcome.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Advertisement Arsenal are hopeful of making Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba their first summer signing (Picture: Getty)Arsenal are closing in on their first summer signing with Saint-Etienne’s highly-rated teenage defender William Saliba reportedly close to completing a €25m switch to the Emirates.The 18-year-old has emerged as one of France’s brightest young talents since debuting for Les Verts last September and Arsenal faced competition from PSG, Napoli and Spurs for his signature.Although Arsenal have won the race to sign the France Under-20 international, they will have to wait a while for him to officially join as he is set to spend the 2019-20 season on loan at Saint-Etienne.Unai Emery had been keen on getting Saliba on board quickly to help ease Arsenal’s central defensive woes but Saint-Etienne are determined to keep the youngster for another year.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTFurthermore, reports in France suggest that Saliba himself is keen to remain where he is for the time being over concerns about his immediate playing time in north London.It is a testament to how highly Arsenal rate Saliba, though, that they are content to play a waiting game for him despite their ongoing defensive issues.A blow to Emery’s immediate plansSince Arsenal’s stuttering end to last season, the club has been linked to a plethora of central defenders across Europe ranging from established stars such as Samuel Umtiti to younger players like Saliba and Sampdoria’s Joachim Andersen.Having identified Saliba as a player whom Arsenal can build around for the foreseeable future, Emery will be disappointed not to be able to work alongside him for a further 12-months, particularly given his strong track record with young players.Similarly to Saliba, Matteo Guendouzi was an unknown quantity outside of his homeland prior to his move to Arsenal last summer, but Emery trusted him implicitly from the moment he arrived from FC Lorient, handing the midfielder 48 appearances across all competitions in his debut campaign.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *