Arsenal’s defence has improved since Mikel Arteta took charge, but their problems at that end of the pitch remain all too concerningly apparent. For the team to wrestle their way back into English football’s elite, significant changes are needed at the back – be that changes in personnel or Arteta’s out-of-possession set-up at his new club.
Most onlookers would argue that their first-choice centre-backs are not up to the standard a club like Arsenal require, and in William Saliba, the French teenager signed from Ligue 1 side Saint-Étienne in July 2019 and then loaned back for 2019/20, Arteta will hope to have a player who can eventually reach that standard. The manager has been quick to temper expectations, but he will be as aware as anyone of Saliba’s potential. “I know how high the expectations are on him for next year but we have to bear in mind the age that he is at and what he has done in the past” Arteta said. “I will make sure that we create the right environment for him so that he can keep growing as a player.”