Mikel Arteta believes William Saliba has all the ‘right qualities’ to be a success at Arsenal but has warned the young defender he will need to ‘adapt’ to make it in English football.
Saliba joined up with Arsenal’s first-team squad for training last month and was given a run-out against MK Dons earlier this week, with Arteta keen to assess his fitness ahead of the side’s Community Shield clash with Liverpool.
The 19-year-old – who returned to Saint-Etienne on loan last season after joining Arsenal in a £27million deal – produced an assured performance alongside Rob Holding at the back as the Gunners beat their League One opposition 4-1.
Mohamed Elneny, Eddie Nketiah, Mark McGuinness and Reiss Nelson all found the net for the visitors, while Holding scored at the wrong end of the pitch in Milton Keynes.
Asked about Saliba’s first few weeks in north London, Arteta explained: ‘He’s been training really hard.
‘He stayed here in London to do a better preparation and you can tell that he looks ready.
‘Obviously there are a lot of things that are new for him and he will need to adapt.
‘But certainly he has the right qualities for this football club as well the right attitude to keep improving and showing the player he can be for our future.’
Elneny’s superb strike against MK Dons was arguably the standout moment of Arsenal’s pre-season friendly on Tuesday but Arteta admits he’s unsure whether the midfielder has a future at the club.
‘I know Mo really well,’ the Arsenal head coach said.
‘He’s a really positive character to have around and he will be given all of our support.
‘We don’t know if he’ll stay.’
Arteta hopes Arsenal’s impressive 2-1 win over Liverpool last month will give his side extra confidence heading into the Community Shield this weekend.
‘I think it gives us a big platform of confidence that we can beat the top teams and after we did it against Man City and Chelsea,’ the Spaniard said.
‘The team clicked and went into a belief mode.’
On Arsenal’s top-four chances for the new season, Arteta replied: ‘Let’s see how we look at the end of the transfer window.
‘A lot of things will happen but we will challenge for the top 100 per cent.’