Arsenal fans will no doubt be keen to hear about how William Saliba is doing over in France while the young French defender spends a season-long loan with Nice.
Saliba is spending the remainder of the 2020-21 campaign with the Ligue 1 outfit with the intention of getting regular playing time, and time is very much on the 19-year-old's side.
The centre-back has made two Ligue 1 appearances for Nice, away from home against Brest and Metz. Nice doesn't look in immediate danger of a relegation scrap but they'll be keen to open up more of a gap on the drop zone; they currently occupy 13th position, some nine points clear of the bottom three.
This was a point-saving intervention from William Saliba on Thierry Ambrose in the dying embers of last night’s match vs Metz. pic.twitter.com/580b6iHoP8— Get French Football News (@GFFN) January 10, 2021
Saliba produced an encouraging display in Nice's 1-1 draw at Metz where he made a crucial intervention late on in the contest to preserve a point for his side. Saliba was also named as the man of the match. That followed a debut against Brest in which Saliba made the most successful passes and ball recoveries out of any Nice player.
📊 William Saliba made an encouraging Nice debut at Brest, making the most successful passes and winning the ball back more often than anybody else. #SB29OGCN— OGC Nice 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@ogcnice_eng) January 7, 2021
🗓 Nice's fixtures
- 17 Jan: Bordeaux (H)
- 23 Jan: Lens (A)
- 31 Jan: Saint-Etienne (H)
- 03 Feb: Monaco (A)
- 07 Feb: Angers (H)
- 09 Feb: Nimes (A)
- 14 Feb: PSG (A)
💬 "A lot of things have happened to him. He is a long-term player for us and we need to protect him as well."@m8arteta on Wilo's loan move 👇— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 7, 2021
Much is expected of the talented teenager after his £27m move to North London back in July 2019. He's yet to make a first-team appearance for the Gunners, but Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will be confident that he'll return ready for first-team action in 2021-22. Saliba's stats in 2019-20 were rather impressive, and they raise the prospects of a top-class long-term partnership alongside Gabriel in the centre of Arsenal's defence.
William Saliba's tackling during the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 18, 2020
❍ 24 attempted
❍ 19 made
❍ 5 x dribbled past
❍ 0 fouls
Gabriel Magalhães' tackling during the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season:
❍ 55 attempted
❍ 41 made
❍ 7 x dribbled past
❍ 7 fouls pic.twitter.com/HtTKPKtZbc
Nice face a tricky run of fixtures which includes a meeting with Saliba's old club Saint-Etienne, in-form Monaco and champions PSG. It's a sequence of tests in which we should find out what William Saliba is made of at this level.