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Arsenal told William Saliba is ready to make impact under Mikel Arteta

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Arsenal have been told incoming arrival William Saliba can make an instant impact in the first team despite his young age.

The 19-year-old is set to join up with his new Arsenal teammates ahead of next season, a year after the club struck a £27million deal with St Etienne for his signature.

Whilst technically already an Arsenal player, part of the agreement saw the Frenchman return to St Etienne on loan for the whole of this campaign.

And from working him with him all season, manager Claude Puel believes the defender has all the qualities to be a hit for The Gunners from the off.

“He is ready,” the former Southampton and Leicester boss told The Athletic. “He is a fantastic player.



William Saliba has been backed to be an instant hit at Arsenal
William Saliba has been backed to be an instant hit at Arsenal

“He is a young player but with a lot of maturity in his play. Also, in his life. He is a player with a good feeling and spirit.

“It will be hard for us without him but I think it is a fantastic opportunity for Arsenal.”

Saliba has made only 15 appearances for St Etienne this season, but would have made more were it not for a three-month injury layoff.

A fractured metatarsal kept the centre-back out from November to February, but he returned to the side before the Ligue 1 season was cut short due to coronavirus.

Ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has previously hailed the suburbs of Paris – where Saliba grew up – as a hotbed of footballing talent, with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba also emerging from the area.

This will be welcome news for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who will be more than aware of his side’s need for strong defensive reinforcements.

Despite a wealth of centre-halves at the club, it is still seen as a problem area for Arsenal.

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High hopes are now being placed on Saliba’s young shoulders to be part of the solution, and Puel has backed him to be a success.

“I think they need a good centre-back and have done for some time, and I think William is the right player,” Puel added.

“I think he can play all the time in the first team at Arsenal.”

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