Ian Wright: Why I’m really excited about new Arsenal signing
Arsenal legend Ian Wright defends the Gunners' decision to loan new signing William Saliba to Saint-Etienne next term
Ian Wright has issued his backing for Arsenal’s decision to sign future prospect William Saliba.
The Gunners won the race to sign the highly-rated Saint-Etienne defender on Thursday evening after Saliba completed a big-money move to the north London side.
Tottenham Hotspur had also been linked with a swoop to sign the promising French defender but Arsenal managed to get one over their bitter local rivals.
The Gunners have agreed to loan Saliba back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season before the teenager links up with his new team-mates on a permanent basis next summer.
Some Arsenal supporters have expressed their concerns that the Gunners need immediate reinforcements in defence but have signed a centre-half that they can’t avail of until next term.
However, former Arsenal striker Wright understands why the Gunners decided to strike a deal for Saliba and accept Saint-Etienne’s request to keep the defender for another season.
“I have to say, with Saliba he’s a player that I’m excited about. I didn’t think we’d get him,” Wright told his YouTube channel.
“With the club’s chasing him and the money they were throwing at him, for us to make that deal happen, that is a player who has been sought after and we’ve got him.
“Anybody at the club who has played a part in that deal has got to take a maximum amount of credit.
“I know he’s going back and I know we definitely need a centre-half, but if we are going to be totally honest with where Arsenal are at the moment, if we can get a centre-half for the future and we have to loan him back and then have to try and fill spaces and get people in we have to do that.
“We cannot compete with Man City and Liverpool in respect of buying the finished article yet. We have to understand that’s where we are and I think that someone like Saliba is the future and we’ve got him.”
Saliba officially joined Arsenal last week after the Gunners snapped up Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli from South American side Ituano earlier this month.
The north London side have also secured the signing of Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan this summer.
Arsenal finished in fifth place in the Premier League table last term.