The 19-year-old was snapped up from Saint-Etienne last year for £27 million and immediately sent back to the Ligue 1 side on a season-long loan.
Saliba has now linked up with the Gunners squad ahead of next season, at a time when Mikel Arteta’s side are in desperate need of defensive reinforcements.
The highly-rated centre-back was instantly made captain when called up to France’s Under-18s, and the coach that selected him admitted he was a ‘monster’ from a young age and shares similar traits with two of the world’s best defenders in Van Dijk and Varane.
‘A mix of the two styles,’ Vannuchi told the Telegraph. ‘With Varane because of his speed and power, and with Van Dijk it is the interceptions, the positioning on the pitch.
‘My first impression was that this was the biggest man of his generation.
‘On the pitch, he is a competitor. A technical and physical leader.
‘As a person he is more reserved but all the other players respected him because he was the very best defender at that age.
‘He looked like a man. The difference between him and the other players was massive. When he took the ball and ran into midfield, no one could stop him. He was like a monster compared to other players of the same age.
‘He is something different to what I have worked with before. When he played with Saint-Etienne it looked normal for him, even though he was so young. You never saw any difference between him and the older men around him.’