Arsenal are clearing a path for William Saliba, but they would be better served making his path tougher rather than easy, and there’s on great way to do that.
In a move of remarkable foresight that seems like it should be common sense, Arsenal have added William Saliba to their Europa league squad despite him spending the year at Saint-Etienne, not to mention him having just underwent surgery.
Needless to say, Saliba won’t be playing in the Europa League this year (and hopefully not ever). But the move was designed to qualify him as a homegrown player for his freshly paved path to North London stardom.
Like I said, it’s brilliant, but it seems like it should be a common sense move. And while this is definitely the kind of path-paving we should be engaging in, the other form of path paving I’m not necessarily a fan of.
David Luiz was a stopgap signing. He’s supposed to be the guy that helps us get to the next era of this defense. Sokratis was the same. Two veterans… two error-prone veterans… helping see the way to William Saliba, who we have already committed £27m to in the belief that he is the future of this defense.
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But that doesn’t mean we let Luiz and Sokratis wear themselves out and then Saliba comes in to save the day. It would be far, far more beneficial to build the future of the defense without Saliba now and force Saliba to hack his own way into that starting picture.
Yes, you know what that means. That means doing what should be happening anyway—get Calum Chambers and Rob Holding in their to establish their own domain and when Saliba comes, he is up against seasoned Premier League defenders, both under 25 years old.
And throw Dinos into that mix too, because while I have no idea what is going on with him and his spotty injury record, I know that he is a fantastic defender that gives us a lot to be excited about.
As we are learning this year, it is always the better move to make players fight for a spot than to cater the spot for them.
Thankfully, this is something Unai Emery knows good and well, as evidenced by Mesut Ozil last year and undoubtedly by more instances yet to come this year. So we are in good, practical hands going forward.