Football FanCast

Arsenal Could Land "The Best" £52m Saliba upgrade

Football FanCast logo Football FanCast 27.05.2023 12:32:43 Callum Davies

Even Arsenal fans were likely taken by surprise when William Saliba strolled into the first team with such ease. The Frenchman, who had been signed under Unai Emery, had been long-forgotten by most casual Premier League enjoyers given his loan spells back in his home country.

It seemed like the £27m expended to bring him in was due to be a bust, and one that Mikel Arteta would have to deal with rather than profit from.

However, after a season in which they pushed Manchester City so close to the title, it is incredible just how important the 21-year-old proved to be. He was imperious at the back alongside Gabriel Magalhaes, and it was no surprise to see their charge collapse after the injury he sustained in March.

In the ten league games in his absence, they have only mustered just four wins, as opposed to the five-game win streak they had been enjoying prior to it.

Despite that, his work in propelling them back into the Champions League has already been achieved. It has returned the Gunners' stock to a level that can finally attract the biggest names again, and the Emirates has suddenly announced itself as an attractive proposition for prospective stars.

Ironically enough, this could lead to assets being brought in who will actually surpass the young stopper. For example, should their reported pursuit of the ?60m (£52m) Kim Min-jae come to fruition, no longer would fans clamber to laud Saliba. The South Korean would immediately take precedence.

The reason that such awe would be attached to the 26-year-old stems back to his work in helping Napoli claim the Serie A title, a feat that Arsenal could not achieve in their own league.

Kim was so instrumental that he has missed just two matches in the league all season. For all his qualities, it is this reliability that stands above all else.

That even seems to surpass the praise of Italian journalist Ivan Zachoroni, who has boldly claimed: "He is the best defender in the world. There is no player to compare in terms of skill and consistency. Kim Min-jae is the perfect defender with no flaws."

This kind of superlative adulation is clear to see in his statistics, which far outperform even Saliba. His 7.24 average rating is only bettered by two others within his title-winning squad and is upheld through a 91% pass accuracy, 1.2 interceptions, 1.6 tackles and 3.6 clearances per game, via Sofascore.

For comparison, although this has been his breakthrough term, the former Saint-Étienne man has only mustered 1.3 tackles and three clearances per game, having also given away two penalties, made three errors leading to a shot and one leading to a goal, per Sofascore.

It is clear that Saliba's youth makes him raw and often culpable. Kim, on the other hand, has experience at the top level, challenging for elite honours. There is a precedent that in time that gulf in quality could be bridged, but for now it is a lofty gap. Bringing him to the Emirates would be a dream come true, not least for the France international to learn from such a fine centre-back.

samedi 27 mai 2023 15:32:43 Categories: Football FanCast

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