William Saliba told Arsenal exit could be ‘best career decision’ to ‘fully exploit potential’

Jason Soutar
Arsenal defender William Saliba during a match against Aston Villa
William Saliba during a match against Aston Villa

Former France winger Ludovic Giuly has hinted that William Saliba might need to leave Arsenal if he wants to become the best centre-back in the world.

Saliba has been excellent for Arsenal since making his Premier League debut in August 2022.

Leaving Arsenal could benefit William Saliba – Giuly

He was shipped out on loan three times after costing the Londoners £27million in the summer of 2019 and made his long-awaited debut in a 2-0 win away to Crystal Palace on the first day of 2022/23.

The Frenchman was a crucial player in the Gunners’ unlikely title push but his side ultimately fell short after he suffered a season-ending injury in March.

Saliba has been fantastic again this term, helping Mikel Arteta’s side become the best defensive team in the Premier League.

The 23-year-old signed a four-year contract last July amid doubts over his long-term future at the Emirates. He is now valued at €80million by Transfermarkt.

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Arsenal will no doubt be completely against the sale of Saliba but former AS Monaco and Barcelona winger Giuly has hinted that a move elsewhere could benefit the player’s career.

Asked if Saliba can become one of the best central defenders in world football, Giuly told wettbasis.com: “William is already on a very good path. In his first year at Arsenal, he was on the substitutes’ bench on and off, but he has developed brilliantly over the past 18 months.

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“He is playing brilliantly in the Premier League and is now fully exploiting his potential.

“Whether he can become the best central defender in the world is always difficult to predict. There are a lot of details that play a role, such as fitness, whether he can meet the high expectations in the long term, whether he makes the best career decisions and whether he stays at Arsenal or dares to change clubs.”

Liverpool man must overcome ‘big problem’

Discussing young French players, Giuly was also asked about Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate.

The 47-year-old thinks Konate will be able to reach his potential if he overcomes his injury problems.

“The big problem with him is that he’s often injured,” Giuly said. “But he’s athletic and physically robust, I rarely see him lose a duel.

“If his body leaves him alone in the coming months, then he will go his way and certainly fulfil the great hopes that have been placed in him.”

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