Arsenal may have their own Virgil van Dijk next season to end defensive woes

Arteta delivers verdict on Arsenal's win over Tottenham

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Arsenal suffered a miserable start to the Premier League season as they conceded nine goals in their first three games to drop to the bottom of the table without a single point. They’ve seen a vast improvement since the international break though and have kept two clean sheets in the league this month.

But question marks remain over Arsenal’s backline and boss Mikel Arteta may be looking to further shake-up his defence next year.

The Gunners already shelled out mega-money in the summer to land centre-back Ben White, right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu and keeper Aaron Ramsdale.

And the north London side could in fact already have a Rolls Royce defender who has been compared to Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk.

Back in 2019, Arsenal signed teenage centre-back William Saliba from Saint-Etienne for £27million.

The Frenchman was instantly loaned back to the Ligue 1 club and made 17 appearances despite an injury-hit campaign.

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Saliba was sent back out on loan during the second half of last season as he enjoyed a successful spell at Nice, before Arsenal sanctioned yet another temporary move in July as the player joined Marseille.

The defender, who is yet to make his Arsenal first-team debut, has started seven of Marseille’s first eight league games as his side have suffered just one defeat all season.

Saliba has also recently been out in Dubai working with world-renowned fitness coach Nicolas St-Maurice, also known as The Power Coach.

St-Maurice has worked with a plethora of big names from the world of football and believes Saliba displays similar attributes to Van Dijk.

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“He’s a very nice guy – very hard working,” St-Maurice said.

“When I first saw him I thought of Van Dijk because of his positions of plays and he has the right potential to make it far.

“We worked on a number of things such as speed, power. He’s a big guy also and he’s strong.

“When you’re so young and you’re big and strong you aren’t as quick as the smaller guys. We worked a bit on that and he did really well.

“I know a lot of young players I can see that some get distracted when they come to Dubai but he was working hard and he’s got the right environment.

“William is humble. Arsenal fans are annoyed right now because he’s not at the club and he’s doing really well in Marseille but I think last season he missed some games on top of Covid.

“Saliba needs to play more and he will come good. He does not want to come to Arsenal and sit on the bench – that’s not his mentality.

“He wants to be playing for Arsenal. I think next season he will make a solid case for himself.”

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