As Arsenal’s defensive struggles continue, William Saliba is turning heads courtesy of an impressive start to life on loan at Nice.
The 19-year-old joined the Ligue 1 side last month until the end of the season and has hit the ground running despite the Eagles' poor run of results.
Saliba has completed the full 90 minutes in each of his six appearances for the club and has now been recognised for his efforts.
The teenager was named Nice’s player of the month for January, having received 44 per cent of votes. He finished well clear of teammates Flavius Daniliuc (22 per cent) and Walter Benitez (11 per cent), who finished in second and third place respectively.
Nice have described the qualities displayed by Saliba which led to him claiming top spot, stating on their official website : “By his presence, his impact and his revival, he quickly brought what he had been recruited for: his way of defending with rigor and serenity.
“At the heart of a complicated period (four defeats and one victory in January), his qualities were not enough to put the group back on the right track, but they embody a "positive axis on which to build" as Adrian Ursea likes to stress.
“Lacking rhythm during his premiere in Brest, despite a solid performance on his part, William Saliba quickly proved that the breath returns quickly during the young years. What is verified in a figure: he chained 450 minutes in January, in the heart of a three-way defence, not leaving the meadow for a single second.”
Saliba featured in six matches for the Gunners’ Under-23s this campaign, though is yet to make his first-team bow.
Mikel Arteta’s side remain in search of a solution for their defensive struggles, which have led to Arsenal suffering back-to-back league defeats against Wolves and Aston Villa.
Arsenal remain nine points adrift of the top four in the Premier League standings.
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