Former Arsenal star William Gallas believes that while William Saliba’s playstyle is similar to Rio Ferdinand, he’s concerned the Frenchman doesn’t have a senior defender to learn from. Saliba returned from a successful loan spell at Marseille this summer and has thrived for the Gunners since then.
While he signed for Arsenal in the summer of 2019, William Saliba only made his Premier League debut for the Gunners at the start of the 2022/23 season. That was because the youngster was sent out on multiple loan spells over the years, spending time with St Etienne, OGC Nice and Olympique Marseille. However, since his return this summer, Saliba has slotted into the first team and has played every league minute for the club so far.
Not only that, the Frenchman has adapted perfectly to the tactics and physicality of the English league doing enough to keep his place and become one of the first names on the team-sheet. It has seen more than a few critics praise the French defender and William Gallas is amongst the latest, as the Frenchman believes that Saliba’s style of play is similar to a young Rio Ferdinand. But the former Arsenal star is concerned that the 21-year-old doesn’t have a senior defender to guide him and learn from.
''William Saliba has the same style as Rio Ferdinand. When you see Saliba and how he plays, and when you compare with Rio when he was young, I think they are similar. But it’s always the same problem, who is going to be next to you to learn? At the moment Saliba doesn’t have anyone. When I talk about experienced players, I’m talking about top-class defenders. That’s why I’m a little bit worried for him,” Gallas said, reported Goal.