Former Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna has heaped praise on William Saliba for his rapid rise in stature. He has also backed the promising centre-back to go to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year.
Saliba, 21, has established himself as a first-team name under manager Mikel Arteta in the ongoing season, helping his club to the top of the Premier League table. He has netted two goals and contributed one assist in seven Premier League appearances this campaign.
Speaking to Lord Ping, Sagna shared his thoughts on Saliba and lauded the north London outfit for the player's development. He said:
"I think he is having an amazing impact on everybody: the fans, his teammates. He has finally arrived and he looks ready. Sometimes, a player needs to take a different journey to get where they want and, if you look back at the decision of the club to loan him to Marseille, it has proven to be the correct decision."
Saliba, who joined the Gunners from Saint-Etienne for £27 million in 2019, impressed during his loan spell at Marseille last season. The France international propelled the club to a second-placed finish in Ligue 1 and was also named the 'Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year'.
During the 2021-22 campaign, he featured in 52 matches across all competitions and helped his team register 20 clean sheets. Speaking about Saliba's development, Sagna said:
"It was a great spell and has helped him take to the demands of playing for Arsenal. I think the sky's the limit for him. He has started to get into the French national team. I think he will go to the World Cup. He has shone for Arsenal and become a key player already."
"The level he is playing at is because of the amount of games he played. Players only improve with games. He had his first loan at Saint-Etienne – this allowed him to learn and make mistakes out of the pressure of playing for Arsenal and he has taken a step in the right direction every year. The way Arsenal have allowed him to develop was very smart."
The Gunners will next face London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday (October 1).
Four Arsenal first-team stars miss training ahead of north London derby
As per Football London, four Arsenal players were absent from their first-team training session on Tuesday (September 27) ahead of their clash against arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, who arrived from Manchester City for £32 million in July, missed training as he is recovering from a calf injury. While Kieran Tierney picked up a head injury while on international duty, Thomas Partey recently sustained a knee issue during a training session with Ghana. Takehiro Tomiyasu is the fourth absentee.