Martin Keown has warned Arsenal fans not to expect too much from William Saliba with the defender set to stay with the Gunners next season.
There seems to be hope from supporters that the arrival of Saliba, who spent the season on loan at Saint-Etienne, will solve Mikel Arteta’s defensive worries.
The boss has been keen to strengthen his back-line with Lille star Gabriel Magalhaes believed to be a top target.
Saliba was signed last summer though spent the year in Ligue 1 with his former club, impressing despite Saint Etienne being involved at the wrong end of the table and battles with injury.
Though Gunners legend Keown has warned fans not to expect too much from the youngster.
He said: "It is one of those where I would have been happier if Arsenal had paid more money and brought him in straight at the start of last season.
"There have long-been questions over the Arsenal defence and Saliba was expensive, but he is also young and has not played that many professional games.
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"It can't be expected that he will walk straight into Arsenal, right into the team and be on it from the off."
Arteta had downplayed expectations on Saliba recently, saying: “I am excited to work with him but I am worried about the expectations because I know how difficult it is to play as a central defender in this country.
“It is one of the most complicated positions here. The step is really, really big. William had a really positive season last year, but he has had a really difficult one this year with injuries.
“We know where the potential is, but to fulfil that potential every three days at the highest level is a different task.
“He is, in my opinion, in phase one or two of his development. He has a lot of things to learn but hopefully, we can give him the right environment to make that process very quick.
“I know the player. He has the right mentality, the right attitude, the right physique. But he needs to fit in and that’s something nobody knows until the moment he lands in that dressing room.”
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