Positives of William Saliba’s Move to Nice
Kicking off with the clear and obvious, he needs to play football. Couldn’t be any simpler.
While regular run outs with the youth team is better than nothing, £27m doesn’t get spent to boost the reserve side. For a player of his ability, he must be playing top-flight football. Many will argue that Ligue 1 is not the finest standard around, which is true, but it’s a darn sight better than Derby County Under-23’s.
A return to Saint-Etienne was in the offing for months after the failures of the summer, a move that was claimed to be Saliba’s preference – It’s little wonder why that’s the case as he’d been there since 2016. Home comforts would’ve have been the best tonic to a season that will have been bitterly disappointing in his eyes.
Returning to France suits him. That much is sure. Arsenal may see him play his best football somewhere he is more familiar with the culture and language. Importantly though, joining a different club in Ligue 1 means many of those comforts have been stripped away. There will be no falling back into old routines and surroundings, the like of which could set back his development once more before he returns to Arsenal.
Knowing the division means his adaptation will be eased, but he’ll still need to mature in new surroundings, with new teammates and in a different style of play.
In terms of minutes, regular centre-back Dante suffered an ACL tear and will miss the entire season, opening the door for Saliba to garner as much playing time as feasibly possible. With the deal being wrapped up so soon in the month, he can make an immediate impression in an inexperienced backline.
Nice aren’t having a great season, and sacked Patrick Vieira at the beginning of December, although relegation is unlikely to occur.