Arsenal transfer news: ‘Irreproachable’ Saliba continues to excel in Nice
Arsenal centre-back William Saliba was unable to force his way into the reckoning at the Emirates Stadium and was moved out on loan to Nice in January in a bid to find first-team football.
Saliba has not played a single game for the Gunners since a big-money move to the club in 2019. His first season was spent on loan at Saint-Etienne. Injuries and the coronavirus crisis prevented him finding his best level at his formative club, however.
Mikel Arteta has argued that a lack of first-team experience was decisive in Saliba not featuring under him in any competition.
The young Frenchman, however, has impressed on his return home.
His strong form continued on Sunday as he led Nice to a 1-0 win away to Lens.
William Saliba: What they said
“He guides his team-mates and gives the impression that he’s been at Nice for a very long time. Since his arrive, the defender has acted as a leader of the defence and his five clearances as well as his three balls won are testimony to his key role,” L’Equipe, who rated his performance at 6/10, reported.
Saliba was also give a 6/10 rating by local paper Nice Matin, who were equally effusive with their praise of the 19-year-old.
“Irreproachable, he has put together several solid displays. Impressive with his calmness in a team that lacks it so considerable, he is very strong,” it said.
Saliba’s performances continue to be opposed to those of many of his Nice team-mates, and he certainly played a major role as Nice secured their first clean sheet in five games and just their second win in 15.
Next up: Saint-Etienne (h)
Nice play host to Saint-Etienne, Saliba’s former club, in a lunchtime kick-off on Sunday. Their opponents are one of the few teams in France in poorer form, having won only one of their last 17 matches in all competitions.