Comparing William Saliba’s 2021-22 stats with Arsenal’s centre-backs

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Marseille defender Willian Saliba celebrates during the Ligue 1 match against Brest in Brest, France, March 2022.

William Saliba has been impressing on loan at Marseille this season – but how does he compare with Arsenal’s other centre-back options?

Saliba joined Arsenal in a £27million deal in 2019 and was widely regarded as one of the best young talents in European football. 

After remaining at Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season, he then arrived in London but was frozen out of the first team after Mikel Arteta deemed him unready.

The defender, who is yet to make a competitive appearance for Arsenal, had a brief stint at Nice before joining Marseille on a season-long loan deal.

Saliba has enjoyed a brilliant 2021-22 campaign at Marseille, making 51 appearances in all competitions and helping Jorge Sampaoli’s side secure Champions League qualification.

His performances saw him named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year, and he also won the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award.

“Obviously we are really aware of what he is doing, how he is developing. He is our player,” Arteta said after Saliba made his senior France debut in March.

“I think we are really happy with the decision that we made because again the exposure and minutes and responsibility on his growth at his age is something that we could not guarantee him this season.

“And it makes a lot of sense what is happening with him. We are glad to see the way he is improving.”

The 21-year-old has been linked with a permanent move to Marseille and Atletico Madrid are also monitoring his situation. But TEAMtalk reports that Saliba wants to return to Arsenal this summer and will fight for his place in the first team.

We’ve compared his 2021-22 Ligue 1 stats to the corresponding Premier League data of Ben White, Gabriel and Rob Holding.

Successful tackles per 90 minutes (success rate)
Rob Holding – 1.6 (94.1%)
William Saliba – 1.5 (88.2%)
Gabriel – 1.5 (83.3%)
Ben White – 1.4 (73.6%)

Successful aerial duels per 90 minutes (success rate)
Rob Holding – 3.1 (55.3%)
Ben White – 1.9 (59.3%)
Gabriel – 1.7 (60.7%)
William Saliba – 1.3 (61.9%)

Interceptions per 90 minutes
Ben White – 1.3
William Saliba – 1.3
Rob Holding – 1.2
Gabriel – 0.4

Fouls per 90 minutes
William Saliba – 0.5
Ben White – 0.6
Gabriel – 0.7
Rob Holding – 1.1

Arsenal defender Ben White

READ: Ranking the 19 centre-backs Arsenal have signed since Sol Campbell left

Clearances per 90 minutes
Rob Holding – 4.8
Gabriel – 3.3
Ben White – 3.2
William Saliba – 2.2

Passing accuracy
William Saliba – 93.1%
Gabriel – 89.3%
Rob Holding – 86%
Ben White – 84.6%

Passes completed per 90 minutes
William Saliba – 78.7
Gabriel – 53.5
Ben White – 45.0
Rob Holding – 42.6

Gabriel – 4
Rob Holding – 1
William Saliba – 0
Ben White – 0

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