Arsenal star likened to Virgil van Dijk tipped for big breakthrough

Date published: Thursday 30th September 2021 2:23 - Rob McCarthy

Nice defender William Saliba, on loan from Arsenal

An Arsenal defender, who has been likened to Liverpool colossus Virgil van Dijk, has been tipped to make a big breakthrough for the club in 2022.

Young centre-back William Saliba has once again been loaned out this season and has yet to make an appearance for the club. However, that has not stopped elite fitness coach Nicolas St-Maurice claiming the 20-year-old will end up being a superstar at The Emirates.

Saint-Maurice, who has helped Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema in the past, told football.london of the progress Marseille loanee Saliba is looking to make: “He’s a very nice guy, very hard working.

“We worked on a number of things such as speed, power, you know he’s a big guy also and he’s strong. When you’re so young and you’re big and strong you aren’t as quick as the smaller guys. We worked a bit on that and he did really well.

“When I first saw him I thought of Van Dijk because of his positions of plays and he has the right potential to make it far.

“I know a lot of young players, I can see that some get distracted when they come to Dubai but he was working hard and he’s got the right environment.

“William is humble. Arsenal fans are annoyed right now because he’s not at the club and he’s doing really well in Marseille. But I think last season he missed some games on top of Covid.

“Saliba needs to play more and he will come good. He does not want to come to Arsenal and sit on the bench – that’s not his mentality. He wants to be playing for Arsenal. I think next season he will make a solid case for himself. ”

Arsenal invested £27million to bring Saliba to north London in the summer of 2019. However, he was immediately loaned back Saint Etienne and is now at Marseille.

Saliba is, however, finally expected to be given his chance next season.

He will have some work to do force his way into the side though. Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes are currently striking up a strong relationship.

After a poor start to the season, the duo have excelled at the heart of an improving Arsenal defence.

Saliba does have time on his side though and is contracted with the Gunners until 2024.


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Brugge star tipped for Arsenal, Spurs switch

Meanwhile, the father of Club Brugge midfielder Hans Vanaken has welcomed interest from the likes of north London giants Tottenham and Arsenal in his son.

The 29-year-old has been linked with a switch to the Premier League for several seasons, having made a name for himself with some outstanding performances for Brugge in recent times.

However, significant interest in his services has never turned into anything concrete, leaving the player in his homeland.

Hans Vanaken in CL action for Brugges against Leipzig

With his age starting to go against him, Vanaken is once again being linked with a move to England. Both Spurs and the Gunners have reportedly shown an interest in a player who has already scored five goals and added two assists in 10 appearances this season.

Vanaken finished the 2018 and 2019 seasons with the Golden Shoe. That’s the award for the Belgian top flight’s Player of the Year.

And the midfielder’s father is hoping that another season like that will prompt more interest in his son.

He told HLN Sportcast: “One more top year with Club, maybe a third Golden Shoe, and then a top transfer. Arsenal, Tottenham, let those teams come!

“Me giving him a push? No. I have two children, and the most important thing is that they are happy. Then the rest comes.”

READ MORE: Bewildered Arsenal star takes Arteta to task

 

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