Emmanuel Petit reveals why Mikel Arteta should move mountains to secure star who is ‘the future’ of Arsenal

Granit Xhaka, William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus, October 2022

Former Arsenal star Emmanuel Petit has heaped praise on defender William Saliba and hopes he stays at the club for many years.

Saliba, 21, joined the Gunners from Saint-Etienne in 2019 but did not kick a ball for the side until this season. He was loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-2020 campaign, making 17 appearances in all competitions. The France international returned to the Emirates but was not part of the Arsenal squad for 2020-21.

He bided his time with the Under-23s until moving to Nice in January 2021. The talented youngster made an immediate impression, being handed the club’s Player of the Month award for that month.

And he enjoyed 22 outings in all competitions, scoring once. However, Arsenal remained reluctant to introduce him to their first-team plans.

And he was then off on his travels once more, signing a one-year loan with Marseille in July last year.

It proved to be a successful temporary stint, with 36 Ligue 1 starts in his breakthrough campaign.

Mikel Arteta opted to bring him into the first-team squad last summer. And Saliba has played in all but 14 minutes of the Gunners 14 Premier League games this term.

He has helped them to the top of the standings, with Petit mightily impressed.

“He’s made a huge leap forward this season, he’s asserted himself at Arsenal and he’s also a key part of the Gunners’ successful season,” he told wettbasis. “He already seems very mature and very calm in his game.”

Sky the limit for Saliba

Saliba has been roundly praised by pundits for the way he has slotted seamlessly into the Arsenal rearguard.

He has also played eight times for France and is with Didier Deschamps’ squad in Qatar.

Game time has been limited in the Middle East showpiece, with Saliba playing just 27 minutes to date.

But he does have the likes of Raphael Varane, Ibrahima Konate and Dayot Upamecano in front of him at present.

Petit is clearly a huge fan. And the World Cup winner revealed just why the centre-back is so good.

“After first being on loan he wanted to show everyone, especially coach Mikel Arteta,” he added.

“He anticipates the opponent’s attacks very well. He is technically clean and he is now bursting with self-confidence.

“He’s now one of the best defenders in the Premier League, that’s for sure. He is the future of Arsenal FC, but also of the French national team.”

Arsenal must move to secure Saliba future

Saliba is under contract with the north Londoners until the summer of 2024. There is an option of another year in his current deal.

However, unsurprisingly, a few clubs are starting to take note of his prowess.

Paris Saint-Germain are said to be very interested. And, with that in mind, it has been reported that Arsenal are working on a new contract for the youngster.

CBS journalist Jonathan Johnson told GIVEMESPORT last month that the Frenchman’s £40,000 per week deal will be trebled.

And he will be offered a fresh five-year contract sooner rather than later.

That will please Emirates fans who have watched the starlet contribute to a scintillating start to the 2022-2023 season. And they hope it will end in a first title since 2003-2004 next May.

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