Saliba hailed as “boss of defence” after latest impressive display for Nice

William Saliba has been lauded by the French press following a superb performance in Nice’s 1-0 win against Lens on Saturday.

The 19-year-old centre-back is on loan from Arsenal for the remainder of the season after he failed to break into the Gunners’ first-team under Mikel Arteta.

Despite an up-and-down start with the Ligue 1 side Saliba appears to be rapidly improving, and his showing against Lens was probably his most impressive so far as he helped his side to a clean sheet.

And French newspaper L’Equipe were full of praise, saying of Saliba’s performance: “He guides and instructs the defence, and gives the impression he’s been there a long time.

William Saliba is making a big impression at Nice

“He has just arrived but has already shown he is the boss of the defence.”

In total Saliba made five clearances and one block in the game, while he also completed 43 passes with an impressive 89.6% accuracy.

With Arsenal having let the likes of Sokratis and Sead Kolasinac leave this month, Saliba will surely be given an opportunity to shine next season if he continues to shine at Nice.

He is currently yet to play a minute of senior football for the Gunners, but Arteta insisted he is still in his long-term plans.

Speaking once Saliba’s loan move was confirmed, Arteta said: “I want to protect the player that we signed and the future we have alongside him and the best way to do that is to give him minutes to play.

Saliba was restricted to appearances for Arsenal Under-23s before his loan move
Saliba was restricted to appearances for Arsenal Under-23s before his loan move

“He is going to a really strong league as well, a league he knows really well, he has experience [there] and he needs to play as many games as possible to be ready for us from next season.

“He will come back for pre-season and he will be with us, and hopefully he will come back after playing a number of games and [with] his performances raising and his development progressing in the right way. That is why we made that decision.”

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