According to Fabrizio Romano, Saint Etienne defender William Saliba has completed a move to Arsenal on Tuesday. The transfer fee is reportedly worth £25 million, according to James Olley of the Evening Standard.
Arsenal Land William Saliba
Soon to be Official
The clubs will soon make official that French U20 International defender William Saliba will be sent to Arsenal on a permanent transfer (but will be loaned back to his former club as stipulated as part of the deal).
GFFN’s Mohamed Fouhafsi puts Saliba in elite company: “He is an U20 international defender and he is the only player in the French set-up who is in the age class two times higher than a player would typically be. He’s the first player to be in this situation since Kylian Mbappé.”
What Does William Saliba Bring to Arsenal?
In Saliba, they are getting a player who is ready to burst onto the international stage. There is every indication that his development is ahead of schedule. Given the current market for quality defenders, this is shrewd business from the Gunners. Consider Liverpool’s astronomical fee for Virgil van Dijk or this year’s version Matthijs de Ligt. Saliba, by comparison, seems a player on which to make a proper bet.
“Today, if you look at the transfers of De Ligt and other great defenders, €25m, €30m for Saliba is nothing, nothing at all. So, that is why Arsenal have very well understood that they should leave him at St Étienne for another year, or at least close the deal now, because if a player like Saliba is as good again in Ligue 1 this coming season, he will easily be worth €55m, €60m next summer.”
The player’s strength in the air is another quantifiable reason for optimism. According to Goal’s correspondents, he’s “…13th out of 63 players in Ligue 1 for aerial duel success rate based on central defenders to have amassed more than 1,000 minutes, which is a strong figure posted. His aerial prowess is even more impressive when considering that the average age of the group of twelve players ahead of him is 27.5.”