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Arsenal have been impressed with the ‘physical prowess’ of William Saliba and reckon he’ll be ready to compete for a place in the Gunners’ defence next season.
Saliba joined Arsenal from St Etienne in the summer and was immediately loaned back to the French club.
But Arsenal soon got a chance to have a closer look at the 18-year-old centre-back as he visited their London Colney training base after being ruled out of the first seven games of the season with a hamstring injury.
The Gunners have been impressed by Saliba, according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein – although they noted a few areas of concern where Salibas needs to improve – particularly his groin strength.
But according to Metro , the club are confident he will be ready to compete for a first-team spot next season.
That will no doubt be timely, with concerns still over Arsenal’s defence this season.
After impressing Arsenal backroom staff at London Colney, Saliba eventually made his return to action in Ligue 1, making his first three appearances of the season prior to the current international break.
The teenager came on as an 89th minute substitute in a 1-0 win at Nimes at the end of last month, before back-to-back starts against Wolfsburg in the Europa League and Lyon in Ligue 1, playing for 90 minutes in both.
Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Unai Emery is not thought to be looking to add to his squad in the January transfer window.
The Spaniard oversaw one of the Gunners’ best summers in the transfer market in recent memory during the off-season as his rebuild begun to take shape.
Emery brought in new additions, including Kieran Tierney, Nicolas Pepe , and David Luiz; as well as offloading plenty of deadwood.
His side have made a decent start to the season, as they currently sit third in the table having lost only to league leaders Liverpool , while maintaining a 100 per cent record in the cup competitions.