France youth coach raves about Arsenal signing William Saliba

France youth coach Jean-Luc Vannuchi talks up William Saliba's defensive qualities following his move to Arsenal

Mikel Arteta (Photo: Arsenal Media / Screengrab)
Mikel Arteta (Photo: Arsenal Media / Screengrab)

France youth coach Jean-Luc Vannuchi has talked up William Saliba’s defensive qualities as he prepares for his first season at Arsenal.

The Gunners completed a deal to sign Saliba from Saint-Etienne last summer but he was immediately loaned back to the French club for last season.

Saliba, 19, has now linked up with his new team in London and will be hoping to impress Mikel Arteta as he bids to help the north London side challenge for a top-four finish next season.

Now, his former coach Vannuchi has revealed how Saliba was already making light work of the opposition from an early age.

Speaking in an interview quoted by the London Evening Standard, Vannuchi said: “My first impression [of Saliba] was that this was the biggest man of his generation.

“The difference between him and the other players was massive.

“When he took the ball and ran into midfield, no one could stop him.

“He was like a monster compared to the others. When he played with St-Etienne it looked normal for him, even though he was so young.”

Vannuchi went on to claim that Saliba’s style of play is a mix between Virgil van Dijk and Raphael Varane.

He continued: “A mix of the two styles.

“With Varane because of his speed and power, and with Van Dijk it is the interceptions, the positioning on the pitch.”

Arsenal are aiming to try and break back into the Champions League spots next season, with the Gunners having finished in eighth place in the Premier League table this term.

The north London side have not won the Premier League title since their famous unbeaten triumph back in 2004 and they will take on Liverpool FC in the Community Shield at Wembley this weekend.

The Gunners will commence their Premier League campaign with a trip to Fulham, before clashes against West Ham United, Liverpool FC and Sheffield United.

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