William Saliba insists he harbours the ambition to one day becoming Arsenal captain after inheriting the club’s iconic No.4 squad number.
The Gunners beat local rivals Tottenham to the signing of one of the most sought after young defender in world football last year when they agreed a £27million deal with Saint-Etienne.
Saliba spent last season back on loan at the Ligue 1 club but is now a fully fledged member of Mikel Arteta’s fist team squad. The 19-year-old is still waiting to make his competitive debut, however, having sat out last weekend’s opening day 3-0 win over Fulham, but he maintains some lofty ambitions.
The France Under-21 international grew up idolising former Arsenal skippers Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira, while previous incumbents of the No.4, Per Mertesacker and Cesc Fabregas, also went on to wear the armband.
‘I had an Arsenal jersey when I was little with Thierry Henry [on the back], so I liked the club since then,’ Saliba said. ‘Now I am very proud to have the Arsenal jersey.
‘I don’t know why [I got it]! I went in the shop, and I only wanted Arsenal. I liked Vieira and Thierry Henry because I was little and I only knew the French players and they were very good.
‘I am very, very proud to have the number four, so I have to be ready to carry number four.
Saliba sat out the victory at Craven Cottage with Arteta keen to ease the defender into the first team and he could have to wait a little longer to make his first team bow with David Luiz making a quick recovery from a neck injury.
It was feared the Brazilian could miss up to six weeks but the former Chelsea star returned to first team training on Thursday and could yet be in contention to feature against West Ham on Saturday.