La Ligue 1 has become a true factory of good plants. Varane, Umtiti, Lenglet, Kimpembe and a long list that becomes virtually endless. One of the last to appear in this registry is William Saliba. The former AS-Etienne former center (although he will remain on loan) has completed a major campaign in the season of his debut, drawing the attention of clubs like Real Madrid or Manchester United. Now is the time to show:who is and how will William Saliba play?
William Saliba's trajectory and equipment
William Saliba was born on March 24, 2001 in Bondy, Seine Saint-Denis. There also grew Kylian Mbappé, with whom he shares many aspects of his life. William and Kylian have Cameroonian ancestry, went to the same school and excelled in football since childhood. They were even friends and Saliba visited Mbappé's house from time to time. This was because Wilfried Mbappé, Kylian's father, was Saliba's coach in the Bondy U-11 category. For Saliba it was a pillar in his career.
«He was my coach for one or two years. He was a true coach! He taught me everything and if I'm here today, it's thanks to him ».
William had his first license with AS Bondy at the age of 6. There he remained until 2014, where he left for FC Montfermeil. Team that also belonged to the French department of Sena Saint-Denis, so Saliba did not have to leave home. The French central participated in the U-15 team a couple of seasons and twice won the U15 DH championship of the Isle of France. By last, He participated in the Panama U15 Cup in Saint-Denis and was named one of the best players in the tournament. William knew it was time to step forward in his career.
Trust of AS Saint-Etienne in William Saliba
In summer of 2016, Saliba joined AS Saint-Etienne with 15 years. His first season with Les verts It had good results, but the 17/18 campaign was decisive in his career. William participated in 34 matches between categories U17 and U19. To which we must add a reservation and a call with the first team on the last day of Ligue 1.
Teams like Sevilla with Joaquín Caparrós at the head or Leipzig were beginning to take an interest in Bondy's young man. However, at the end of May 2018, William Saliba signed his first professional contract with Saint-Etienne for 3 years. A decision in which he opted for an attractive sports project, as Frédéric Paquet, general director of the club said. After signing, William left the following statements:
«I am proud to have signed my first professional contract in Saint-Etienne. I take this first contract as a great sign of confidence and a step towards the top. The next will be to play in Geoffroy-Guichard ».
Starring William Saliba in Ligue 1
Being 17 years old and being part of a team of the five major leagues is something that few players can say. As Jean-Louis Gasset, coach of Saint-Etienne, opted for one of them on September 25, 2018. That day William Saliba made his debut in Ligue 1 as a starter against Toulouse. A debut with victory, where a tremendous solidity was perceived in the young central.
William has alternated titles and substitutions in Ligue 1 along with 3 matches in the French Cup and League Cup. But nevertheless, since mid-April he has been a starter in all ASSE matches. His last five meetings in the eleven have ended in victory and four of them with the goal to zero. Data that show the great maturity and defensive capacity of Saliba.
His great performances against G. Bordeaux and Stade Reims (part of the eleven of the 33rd day) finished unleashing the extension of his contract with Saint-Etienne until 2023. Again, in a short space of time, Les Stéphanois showed the great hope they have in the young central. Finally, the Saliba season already has a title such as the Gambardella Cup. A football competition for French teams in the 18-year category, in which William has contributed to the conquest.
Saliba is captain in the lower categories of France
William Saliba is going through all the lower categories of the French National Team. His last appearance was in a friendly against Argentina at the Pinatar Arena, where he debuted with the U-20 of France. 1-0 was the result of the preparatory match, so it was a pleasant debut. At that time, William had not yet reached the age of majority.
Since March 2017, Saliba is being called by the Bleuets, starting with a match against Poland in the U16 category. From there, He has participated in 22 matches from U16 to U20. He has even been captain of the U-18 team, a decision taken by coach Jean-Luc Vannuchi. A coach who from the beginning saw great qualities in Bondy's boy.
«He imposes it physically. It is a large size for 2001. It has a real strength ».
How William Saliba plays: bluntness and ball out
It is a right-handed center that measures 1.93 meters, so in high balls it usually has no problems. Magnificent in recovery, always blunt to duels. In addition, it is usually aggressive in the brand as it has shown this season in ASSE. Likewise, William enjoys tactical qualities that he would already like to have several elite centrals.
The first time you see a game of his, you don't think he's 18 years old. Defender with a tremendous plant and a privileged physicist. He may sin a little slow in his movements, but he is quite athletic. To this we should add an improper maturity of his age. Saliba plays with tremendous tranquility, as if he were in the park with friends. He has cold blood to give and give.
Finally, his ball handling is an advantage for his team. William has an excellent exit from the ball and, through it, begins the attack of his teammates with both short and long displacements. In addition, you can take advantage of his great stride to break the pressure of the rival. A very useful center for current football.
Video with the best plays of William Saliba
William Saliba, new Arsenal player
William Saliba experienced a similar situation in Saint-Etienne that Raphael Varane had in Lens a few years ago. And it is that the central had not reached the score of matches with his club and I was already getting the attention of great European teams. When a few months ago Varane seemed determined to leave Real Madrid, several sports journalists began talking about Saliba as a substitute for the white center.
Finally, that option dissipated and it was Arsenal that closed its contract. Although he will continue playing in the ASSE as assigned next season.
William Saliba's Statistics