Premier League • England

‘He can be a disaster’ – Arsenal superstar told he’s inferior to Liverpool ace with biggest weakness named

Arsenal centre-back William Saliba, Liverpool centre-half Ibrahima Konate

Former Arsenal defender William Gallas has outlined why Liverpool ace Ibrahima Konate continues to be favoured ahead of William Saliba by France when detailing the latter’s biggest weakness.

Saliba and Konate are unquestionably two of the finest centre-halves in the Premier League right now. In fact, many people believe Saliba is second only to Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk and it may not be long before he surpasses the great Dutchman.

However, when it comes time to selecting his two starters for France, national team coach Didier Deschamps generally favours Konate and Dayot Upamecano of Bayern Munich.

Speaking ahead of France’s clash with Chile in March – in which Saliba started alongside Konate – Deschamps admitted the Arsenal man does things he does not like to see.

“He is having a good season but he also does things that I don’t like so much,” said Deschamps. “For France, he has limited game time but when he plays, that hasn’t necessarily gone well.

“The hierarchy doesn’t favour him at the moment, but he is here.”

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Deschamps did not get into the specifics in Saliba’s game that he does not like. However, according to former Arsenal and France defender, William Gallas, Saliba’s biggest negative is his inconsistency.

Arsenal fans will no doubt be surprised to see Saliba characterised as a player who lacks consistency.

Indeed, he’d once again been among the Premier League’s leading defenders this term and the Gunners have conceded the fewest goals in the top flight this season.

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However, Saliba did endure a rare off day during Arsenal’s quarter-final first leg tie in the Champions League with Bayern Munich 10 days ago.

The 23-year-old lost more duels (five) than any other player on the pitch during the first half and also conceded a penalty for a rash challenge.

It’s perhaps that performance which prompted Gallas to be critical of Saliba when speaking exclusively to Get French Football News.

“Sometimes he can be a disaster” – Gallas on Saliba

“France have so many talented young centre-backs,” began Gallas. “It’s always the same question, though, and that is which one is going to be consistent? Which ones are going to be the starters?

“Unfortunately, it’s difficult for William Saliba to be in the starting XI because you have Ibrahima Konate from Liverpool and Dayot Upamecano from Bayern, and sometimes Saliba can be magnificent, but sometimes he can be a disaster as he’s not consistent.

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“That’s why it’s a big problem for Didier Deschamps to know exactly who is going to be the number one, or the partnership at centre-back!

“For every other country, Saliba would probably walk into the XI with ease, but with France, it’s different and that is very tough for him – especially as they have been so successful in recent years.

“We have some great young centre-backs in the French team, that’s for sure.”

Gallas’ criticisms of Saliba do appear a little harsh and the defender’s superb displays over the last two seasons have even prompted Real Madrid to take note.

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