Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce is eyeing a move for Arsenal centre-back William Saliba in the summer transfer window.
After conceding a whopping 62 goals in the Premier League last season – only four teams had a worse record – it’s no surprise that the Magpies are keen to reinforce the centre of defence this summer.
The report added that “the 20-year-old is waiting on a decision from Mikel Arteta about whether he figures in the manager’s first team plans for next season with interest mounting in the centre back.”
The 1.93m (6 foot 4) powerhouse has excelled in his time away from Arsenal, proving why he is one of European football’s most promising centre-backs – during the 2020/21 season with Nice in Ligue 1, he was dribbled past just once.
His former coach Fabio Frasconi once claimed: “William Saliba will go far, very far. He reminds me of Raphaël Varane”, whilst former Saint-Etienne teammates Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy, both former Newcastle players, have also waxed lyrical about him to the Official Ligue 1 podcast.
Debuchy said: “I think he is a great player. He’s strong, with good technique. He’s quick, too. I think he has a lot of quality to play at Arsenal.”
Adrian Ursea, his coach at Nice, added: “You can see he has character and above all, he reassures the others. He’s not vocal, but he’s a leader in his own way.
“To see you a young lad who isn’t even 20 yet playing with such assurance against strikers like Wissam Ben Yedder and Kevin Volland, it really is quite amazing.
“He also gives off a calm air that the team needs. I’m not interested in age. The only question about a rookie is whether he’s a good player or not.”
Given Newcastle’s struggles defensively last season, Saliba’s potential arrival could go a long way to giving the Magpies a real leader at the back and someone with a tendency to rarely ever be beaten by opponents.