William Saliba and Gabriel have been pictured training together for the first time at London Colney this week and it’s fair to say Arsenal fans are getting rather excited about their new-look central defence ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.
France Under-20 international Saliba was the first of the two to join as he swapped Saint-Etienne for Arsenal back in July 2019 but the 19-year-old returned to the Ligue 1 club on loan last season so is yet to play a competitive match for the Gunners.
Mikel Arteta will be delighted to have inherited Saliba from the Unai Emery era but the Spaniard has been determined to further strengthen his options at centre-half this summer – and his wishes were granted last week as Arsenal wrapped up a £27 million agreement with Lille for Gabriel, 22.
Arsenal conceded 48 goals in the Premier League last season and supporters are hopeful their two new arrivals will help fix the side’s leaky defence.
The Gunners kick off the season at Craven Cottage in just four days’ time and Saliba and Gabriel were put through their paces on Tuesday as Arteta’s players stepped up their preparations to face newly-promoted Fulham.
There were some bold predictions as giddy fans got their first glimpse of Saliba and Gabriel on the training ground together – could these two help lead Arsenal into a new era under Arteta?
Gabriel, who will be wearing the No.6 shirt at Arsenal, is looking forward to playing alongside Saliba and is confident the young Frenchman has the quality to become a key player for the club.
‘I know Saliba is a talented young player and if he is joining Arsenal it is because of his quality,’ he told Arsenal’s official website.
‘We have a few friends in common and I did play against him before.
‘He is a great player and I am sure we will get along very well.’