‘Totally mystifying’ – Reporter drops major behind-the-scenes Arsenal claim of £34m star

It’s ‘completely mystifying’ to regular watchers of Arsenal defender William Saliba why he hasn’t had a chance to shine at the club yet, according to the Daily Star reporter Paul Brown.



Premier League - Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion


© Provided by Give Me Sport
Premier League – Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion

The 21-year-old joined the Gunners from AS Saint-Etienne in July 2019 for a fee of £27m before being instantly sent back on loan to his boyhood club.

What is the latest news about Saliba?

Despite being an Arsenal player for almost three years, Saliba is yet to make a single first-team appearance for the north London outfit.

He enjoyed a successful six-month loan spell with OGC Nice after joining them halfway through 2020/21, making 22 appearances in all competitions, prompting Marseille to rush for his services last summer.

Saliba joined Jorge Sampaoli’s charges at the start of the current campaign and has gone on to excel for the Ligue 1 giants.

The 6ft 4in gem has started 30 of Marseille’s 31 top-flight appearances to date, playing a pivotal role in their rise to second place in the division, helping them record the second-best defensive record.

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According to WhoScored, Saliba has won 1.2 aerial duels while making 1.4 steals, 2.2 clearances and 0.4 blocks per league game, placing him in the top two for every metric compared to his teammates.

His outstanding performances for the Stade Vélodrome side earned the youngster his first call up to the senior France team at the last international, and Didier Deschamps handed Saliba his first caps against Ivory Coast and South Africa.

What did Brown say about Saliba?

Despite Mikel Arteta’s positive comments about Saliba, Brown revealed that people watching Saliba week in and week out are puzzled by his current situation.

He told GiveMeSport: “Arteta keeps saying he has a future, and he wants to see it and see what he can do.

“But it’s totally mystifying to people in France who watch Saliba every week and think he’s a great player, why he hasn’t really had a chance.”

What is the current situation of the Arsenal centre-back?

Gabriel and summer signing Benjamin White have formed a strong partnership at the heart of Arsenal’s defense this term, keeping Saliba – who is valued at £34m – out of the picture.

The capital club have let just 36 league goals slip away, the fifth-best record in the top flight, and their central defending pair have arguably been one of the most consistent in English football.

Breaking up this duo will then be difficult for Saliba, but if Arsenal can secure European football next season there should be plenty of playing time for all three to thrive.