Whilst Arsenal are rapidly approaching the closing day of a crucial Premier League season, heads have recently turned towards the departures and incomings the transfer window has to offer.
Arsenal, who currently sit in a Champions League position has come a long way since the start of the season. The Opening Day Brentford loss shocked both parties after recent summer arrivals for the Gunners, one of whom was Ben White.
Gabriel and Ben White are the two who have been occupying the CB position at the London club this season, both of which have been fan favourites after their arrivals. The two defenders have registered 12 (Gabriel) and 13 (Ben White) clean sheets this season which is a refreshing sight for many Gooners after painful years of Sokratis and Mustafi. Ben White is doing an excellent job at making fans understand his £50 million price tag in the Summer, also receiving an England callup this international break.
Another Arsenal young gun who has received a callup for his country is William Saliba. The 21-year-old featured in the second half behind his fellow Arsenal loanee Guendouzi. Since this appearance, he has been a hot topic in the media amid his Arsenal future. The Gunners boss has loaned him out twice to French clubs in the last 2 seasons, something that many Arsenal fans disagreed with. Saliba is excelling in Ligue 1 and Arteta’s bold strategy may have helped Saliba’s future when all others thought it wouldn’t.
Whilst many Arsenal fans are eager to welcome the French CB, we must see how he will fit in the Arsenal system. With 92.8% pass accuracy, if included next season, he will be comfortable and vital to Arsenal’s ‘play from the back’ ethos. He has also only accumulated 4 yellow cards in France this season, something that would resolve a long-term issue at the Emirates. He also has an average of being dribbled past 0.2% times per game, an outstanding figure for such a young person at a position that often requires experience and understanding of the game. Saliba has been a key part of Marseille’s very strong season, where they find themselves 2nd, behind Ligue 1 ace, PSG.
It is crucial we see Saliba stay at the Emirates next year, but what will this mean for Ben White? The former Seagull has secured his spot in Arteta’s XI but with European football coming to North London next season, squad depth will be key.
Saliba should stay and compete with Ben White for the CB spot next season. With Arteta’s renowned man management, Saliba will be in a healthy environment, possibly inspired by the current goalkeeper situation where Arteta introduced Ramsdale as the consistent starting GK behind the former, Leno.
Passionate Arsenal fan since aged 6 when I lived in Northern Ireland. Now live in England and I am a season ticket holder to the team I love most with the ambition to become a sports journalist.