Arsenal: William Saliba expectations can only be tempered one way

Arsenal, William Saliba (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal, William Saliba (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images) /

Arsenal fans have been warned by Mikel Arteta to temper their expectations of William Saliba, but that only really happens one way.

Arsenal fans aren’t the best at doing what’s good and sensible for themselves. When we spend a lot of money on a player, like Nicolas Pepe, he will never be good enough. When we don’t spend enough, he’ll never be good enough, but the first signs of promise—like Matteo Guendouzi—and he’s the greatest player in the world.

The other issue is when we’ve signed a player to fill a role that desperately needs filling. When that happens, fans assume that he is the solution to all our problems at that position, and this is the position that William Saliba currently fits in. This defense has been faulty for a while and Wiliam Saliba is the first big signing in that category.

As such, it’s only natural that fans are expecting the world from the young French defender. And similarly, it’s only natural that Mikel Arteta is out here warning fans not to expect too much from him. As for my warning, he’s coming from Ligue 1, which is always a leery proposition.

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But Arsenal fans won’t temper their expectations. Not unless the entire brunt of the defensive situation is alleviated by other defenders.

That can come one of two ways. Either we sign someone else in addition to William Saliba, or one of our current defenders not named David Luiz or Shkodran Mustafi steps up and takes the brunt of the defensive hopes.

Which can fall on either Rob Holding or Calum Chambers, when he’s back healthy. At the moment, Holding is doing his best to alleviate the expectations on Saliba. He’s playing really well, fans are seeing it, and if that keeps skewing towards the positive then you may start seeing these expectations dulled a bit. Not much, but a bit.

It’s working on me so far. I have been so hyped on Saliba, but since Holding has been doing so well, I’ve thought less about Saliba and how he’s going to fix absolutely everything, and more about Holding and his stellar, yet short, history at the club, as well as his present relevance and solidity.

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That’s how we alleviate the expectations on Saliba. Not by asking for it. Fans don’t listen. Fans have to see that there is hope somewhere else. There’s no way around it.