William Saliba has to be ready for bench role at Arsenal, claims William Gallas

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Former Arsenal defender William Gallas has warned William Saliba that he may have to endure a few games on the bench because of how settled Arsenal’s defensive pairing currently is. Gallas also added that Bukayo Saka should stay at Arsenal for one more season before making a decision on his future.

A lot was expected from William Saliba when he signed for Arsenal in the summer of 2019 but he is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Gunners. Instead, the young defender has spent multiple seasons away on loan in France, gaining experience and improving slowly but steadily, so much so that the 21-year-old earned his first cap for France. But that has seen reports indicate that the defender is keen on getting more game-time, whether that’s at Arsenal or elsewhere.

However, in light of his impressive loan spell at Marseille, fans and critics alike hope that Saliba gets his chance at Arsenal next term although William Gallas has warned the defender. The former Arsenal star admitted that the 21-year-old could drop to a bench role next term because of how settled Arsenal’s defensive pairing of Ben White and Gabriel are. Gallas also added that Saliba is only 21 years old and needs time to become even better which is why he is not ready yet.

“I think they didn’t give him the opportunities at Arsenal, and I don’t know why. That’s why he moved on loan to Marseille. He is doing a good job, that is why they called him into the national team, because he has had a great season with Marseille,” Gallas told Goal.

“If he comes back to Arsenal, he has to be ready to go back and maybe be on the bench at the beginning because at the moment you have got Ben White and Gabriel. He has to be ready to accept being on the bench. Mikel Arteta, if he plays with a different system, with three at the back, then he could play with Saliba.

“He has to understand this and be ready, otherwise don’t come back to Arsenal because it will be difficult. Young players now have more opportunities to play, and when you start to play then you want to play every game. The problem at some clubs is that it can be difficult.

“Defenders are completely different to strikers, you need to have experience when you play at the back. Saliba is only 21 years old. He has played 30 or more games at Marseille, so if he goes back to Arsenal then he would like to play again. Maybe he will be on the bench, and if that happens then he will be upset,” he added.

Another young star in question is Bukayo Saka and the forward’s performances this term has seen more than a few clubs from across England and Europe keep a keen eye on his performances. But with Arsenal not playing Champions League football, there is a question as to how much longer they can keep Saka at the club. It saw Gallas reveal that the Gunners need to finish in the top four but he also confessed that Saka should stay for at least another season, as leaving now makes no sense.

“They have to finish in the top four to keep him, that is for sure. But, if I was Saka, I wouldn’t leave next season. If Arsenal doesn’t finish in the top four, I would still stay for maybe one more season. The problem is, in November you have got the World Cup. That means if you leave Arsenal and you go to join any club, maybe you won’t be in the starting XI. 

“If you are not in the starting XI, it can be a problem to start for the national team. We know how it can be difficult sometimes for players to adapt to a new club, especially if they don’t play. It will be difficult for him if he leaves Arsenal, so that’s why it is better for him to stay for maybe one more season,” Gallas further told Goal.

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