One game played for Arsenal, one man of the match award. It was an impressive start to Premier League life for William Saliba after such a long wait to make his debut.
Lavished with praise from supporters, pundits and teammates alike, the 21-year-old would be forgiven for taking a moment to bask in the spotlight but, according to his manager, he won’t be getting carried away.
“I think he has his feet on the ground, that’s not going to be an issue,” Arteta said ahead of Saturday’s clash with Leicester City.
“Obviously, we have talked about the expectation that he already created before joining the club. When he was on loan, he was very aware of everything happening around him and we have tried manage that internally in a really quiet way.
“I think it’s better to stay like this for him because he’s 21 years of age and he’s played one Premier League match.”
When Arteta took a look at Saliba two years ago, he made his mind up very quickly that the player wasn’t ready for life in England’s top flight. After two loan moves, he’s returned a different beast.
“The first impression [this summer] was really positive,” explained the Spaniard. “His body language, his presence and the confidence that he was acting with was very mature.
He added: “The players really like him. He’s come [here] a really determined, focused and humble boy that wants to really take this club forward.
“He’s so willing to talk through anything that you want to talk about, be coached and his aim is to get better and make the team better.”
Arteta’s challenge is to persuade Saliba that his long-term futures lies at Arsenal. The France international has two years left on his current contract and will hold all the cards if he refuses to sign a new deal before entering the final 12 months. All the more so if he gets game time with France at the World Cup.
For now, reports of a new deal being signed are wide of the mark and Arteta hinted that those above him in the hierarchy will be plotting their next move.
“We will address all these issues like we always do, that’s why the board and Edu will be preparing all the scenarios that we can face,” he said.
“We want players to be happy here and feel valued. We just started the season.”
If young Will can consistently be as good as Friday, the sky’s the limit for him. Let’s be patient with him and not get on his back after a costly error, that will come.
He’s one of us, and will hopefully be winning things with us for many many years to come
Totally agree, and I think the vast majority will be supportive but sadly there will always be a section of fans who will harangue a player for a bad performance.
Online maybe. Thankfully, the fans inside the stadium are incredible.
That usually comes when a player has dipped in form after signing a new long term contract.
Yeah, spot on.
Every player makes mistakes: it’s a case of getting rid of the dudes for whom stupid mistakes are the norm, not the rare exception.
Ramsdale, Turner, Tomiyasu, Saliba, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Zinchenko, Partey, Elneny, Xhaka, Vieira, Ødegaard, Saka, Pepe, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Nketiah, Jesus.
This team is enough to make a man dream.
If we upgrade on Pepe and Elneny – say with Tielemans and Diaby – an EPL title challenge becomes a distinct possibility.
If we add another striker, we might just be at par with the top 2.
Summary: we are not far away.
Quite a few ifs there my man but I agree we are looking good!
A bit of patience in getting the right players in and a title challenge next season could be a reality. This season, no way, we’re still a little too callow (i.e. young) to grasp it from MC or Pool for that matter.
Arsenal is the most hungry team in the league. We have been starving for years!
+1 on that.
It looks like everyone likes him, so let the lad play.
A lot of the criticism of the loans are mistaken, I think. (No one defends the screw-up where he was unregistered for a half-season.) Early on, we need to remember how young he was, and the personal loss he suffered at that age. The second year, he could have had some playing time at Arsenal, yes–but probably not a lot and under a lot of pressure each time he played. Instead he played for a big team in France, made his inevitable costly mistakes there but became a fan favourite, gained confidence and assuredness, and became a full international in… Read more »
Hope Saliba does not become another Anelka after the big season he is expected to have. It is good to see that Arteta is trying to gain his confidence. Nobody eats his humble pie more graciously than Arteta. Good quality to have in life.
If only that quality could rub off on a few commenters on here….
I don’t think that’s a good comparison. Very different personalities and situations.
Also I don’t see any humble pie being eaten here, just a sound plan unfolding.
This season key player will be Saliba, this guy is just a different gravy.
Sign him for life.😄
Hate to spoil the mood as the season is starting brightly, but I have a bad feeling that if he produces a few more performances like the Palace one, and plays well at the World Cup, big clubs such as Real, Barça, City will come sniffing around.
So fingers crossed we convince him sooner than later. He could have a fantastic future with us.
I guess we have to convince him that he is young enough to give us 3 or 4 more years and then make his big big move… and maybe fingers crossed if we are lucky and things go for us possibly we might be challenging for EPLs and CLs enough that he’ll not feel the need to move. Maybe
If we tie him to a new deal first, it’s a win win situation for us.
We can’t be afraid of selling talent (for a hefty profit) if the money is reinvested wisely.
Selling Coutinho won Liverpool the league.
Operative word – humble.