Mikel Arteta has been left wowed by William Saliba for Arsenal in pre-season and he shared that he has shown ‘huge potential’, as he told Football London.

Arsenal rounded off their pre-season tour of America by thrashing Chelsea 4-0, with Arteta loving how Saliba has ‘adapted’.

For the past two seasons, the 21-year-old has been loaned out by his parent club, with fans crying for him to finally be given that chance to earn senior minutes.

Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Despite being purchased in 2019, Saliba is yet to make his senior debut and has even donned a France cap before making that official Arsenal appearance.

It’s a positive pre-season so far for those in north London, as Arteta shared his thoughts on Saliba, who he thinks is ‘already a top player’.

“I am really pleased to see the way he is playing, the way he has adapted to the team, the maturity that he’s shown at 21-years-old, carry on doing it,” said Arteta.

“We will keep developing him, he has a huge potential, he is already a top player and we have to make him even better.

“He looked ready to me (on previously claiming there aren’t many 21-year-old CBs ready to play in the Premier League).”

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

SALIBA, WHITE & GABRIEL…

Without a doubt, the trio are the top three centre-backs at the club, it’s just a case of what duo Arteta will push for heading into the new Premier League season.

Someone like White has less defensive capabilities than the other two, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Englishman is the one benched.

It needs to be remembered that both Gabriel and White didn’t start last season – when they lost their opening three games – but from thereafter, they were paired together and were outstanding… for most parts.

Will Arteta break that up? If so, it’s a risk. Arsenal didn’t secure Champions League football for a number of reasons from their lack of depth, their end-of-season capitulation to lack of firepower.

If he feels their defenders were a big reason behind that, then it finally opens the door for Saliba to earn those Arsenal minutes he has been craving for.

In other news, ‘Edu is on top of it’: Arteta says Arsenal are plotting something quite exciting