William Saliba: Why Arsenal Were Wise to Sign France International to Long Term Contract

William Saliba: Why Arsenal Were Wise to Sign France International to Long Term Contract

Elijah Odetokun
updated at August 6, 2023 at 6:56 PM
In this article:
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  • William Saliba signed a new four-year contract that will keep him at Arsenal till 2027
  • The France international had an impressive debut season as the Gunners challenged the title
  • Compatriot Patrice Evra and teammate Gabriel Jesus blames his injury for the team's collapse last year

Arsenal have been moving smart with their transfer businesses and squad management under Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar, but one decision may be their best so far.

The Gunners mounted a title challenge last season. They were so close to winning their first Premier League trophy since 2004 before a late collapse, which Arteta claimed responsibility for, ruined it.

Mikel Arteta, William Saliba, Edu Gaspar, London Colney, St Albans, England.
William Saliba joined by Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar for his contract signing. Photo by Stuart MacFarlane.
Source: Getty Images

Some of the standout performers of the impressive season have signed contract extensions in the past four months, and most recently, France international defender William Saliba signed a contract extension.

Saliba's importance to Arsenal

The French defender was one of the team's core in their title pursuit last season featuring in 27 League games last season and six in other cup competitions before his injury in the Europa League quarter-final against Sporting Lisbon ruled him out of the season.

According to ESPN UK, the Gunners had a 78% win ratio with the 22-year-old while they had 45% without him, the latter in the season's final stages, which led to their collapse.

According to Squawka, the team were statistically better in defensive stats with the former St Etienne defender, conceding fewer goals per 90 and keeping more clean sheets.

Jesus highlights Saliba's importance

Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus agreed with Patrice Evra, who had claimed in September that the defender's injury would derail Arsenal’s season, and it eventually happened.

“When he plays, we concede few goals, when he doesn’t play, the number increases,” he told the Denilson Show.
“When Saliba got injured, it was complicated. The other defenders are good, but we were playing in a certain way. Look at the stats we concede a lot less with him.”

Five new contracts at Arsenal

Sports Brief analysed five new contracts at Arsenal after the squad value hit €1bn, becoming the second team after English champions Manchester City to hit the figure.

Hale End graduate Bukayo Saka headlined the new contracts with his latest deal making him Arsenal's highest-paid player, while goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and Gabriel Martinelli were also rewarded with improved offers.

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Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.
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