William Saliba is on loan from Arsenal at Marseille this season and was in action for the France Under-21’s against Ukraine on Friday evening
Mikel Arteta is quietly building an impressive young leadership group at Arsenal.
It’s very much project youth at the Emirates Stadium these days, especially after a summer transfer window that saw six new players signed – all of whom are aged 23 or younger.
But despite their tender years, Arteta can already see leaders in Martin Odegaard and Sambi Lokonga.
“I think we are building some leadership in the group,” the Spaniard told Arsenal Media. “It’s a really young group, with a lot of players under 23. Martin is the captain of the national team and Sambi was the captain at Anderlecht.”
Another player who could join this important group next season is William Saliba.
The 20-year-old is spending the current campaign on loan at Marseille after it became clear that he was not going to get the playing time he craved at Arsenal following the arrival of Ben White.
And despite reports claiming Saliba may not have a long-term future in north London, the reality seems to be the total opposite.
Arsenal are said to be pleased with how the central defender is progressing at the Stade Velodrome, and the 20-year-old is in regular contact with loans manager Ben Knapper.
What may please Arteta even more is what happened to Saliba when on international duty with the France U21’s.
William Saliba captained the France U21’s against Ukraine.
On Friday evening Les Bleuets thumped Ukraine 5-0 in a UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifier and it didn’t go unnoticed by Arsenal fans on Twitter that Saliba captained the side.
Prompting chatter that Arteta has another leader in his ranks.
@Afcsammmm said: “Saliba captains France U21s today, a true leader.”
@Martin8Gunner said: “Another future leader at Emirates.”
Being a leader is something that comes naturally to Saliba following his admission after joining Nice on loan for the second half of last season.
“Even though I’m young, I’ve come to be a leader,” he said in a press conference.
That’s all coming to fruition now having been handed the armband on international duty and perhaps the next step for Saliba is to be part of the Arsenal leadership group upon his return.