Former Arsenal star Emmanuel Petit believes William Saliba returned to Arsenal for “revenge” and Mikel Arteta is partly to thank for his stellar form.
Saliba has been on the books at the Emirates since 2019. Indeed, that was when he was snared from St Etienne for around £26million.
However, his first senior appearances for the Gunners did not come until this season – three years later.
There has clearly been a sense that the centre-back is a quality player for a long time. Arsenal would not have paid that sum if they did not think Saliba would develop into a very useful asset.
However, it could be fair to say that Arteta did not see that from him straight away during his time at Arsenal.
Indeed, Saliba was shipped out on loans back to St Etienne, to OGC Nice and finally Marseille.
Those seem to have done the trick, as the Frenchman has been thriving in the Premier League with Arsenal this season. He has not missed any of the Gunners’ 14 league games.
In that time, the north London outfit has won all but two games, and kept seven clean sheets. Saliba has also had some personal success, getting his name on the scoresheet twice.
Petit feels Arsenal form is revenge for Saliba
Things look to be on the up for the 21-year-old, despite the fact he might have liked to have been playing for the Gunners a little earlier.
Former Arsenal man Petit thinks Saliba is proving the point that he was ready before now.
“He confirms all the good things we saw from him last season with Marseille. He showed great maturity,” he told 90min.
“Three years after signing for Arsenal, I think he came back with a sense of revenge too, he wanted to prove something to everyone, especially Arteta.”
Saliba has done a great job in showing everybody what he is capable of this season. He has gelled very well with his teammates, and the side have been all the better for that.
While he might have been ready previously, it seems Arteta unleashed him at the right time.
Petit gushes over Saliba quality
Petit also feels that a lot of Saliba’s qualities are standing him in good stead in the Premier League.
“I think he plays very well. He is like a rock. I like his reading of threats. You know, behind the defence is also very good with the ball fight,” he added.
“And he plays confidently and technically too. He has no problem playing the first balls and starting from the back.”
Indeed, those are all qualities that have been on show at Arsenal this season, highlighting him as a very good player.
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