Thierry Henry has no doubts that Arsenal’s William Saliba is ‘by a mile, the best defender in the Premier League right now’.
Saliba has been key for the Gunners since making his much anticipated debut for them last season – some three years after they first signed him.
The centre-back suits Mikel Arteta’s style of play perfectly and it was after he suffered a season ending injury that the club’s title challenge fell apart in the last campaign.
In 2023/24, he has gone from strength to strength, helping his side maintain the best defensive record in the top-flight with just 11 goals conceded after 14 games.
Many consider the France international to be one of the best in his position in the Premier League, but Arsenal legend Henry is certain he is No.1, telling Amazon Prime Sport: ‘Right now I think he is, by a mile.
‘The way he can defend a 1 v 1, the way he allows Arsenal to stay higher [up the pitch] and defend the 45-50 yards behind him is second to none.
‘His speed, the way he recovers, and when he recovers the ball he doesn’t just kick it into the stands – he tries to get it back [to his teammates] which is important.
‘I was working in France when he was on loan to Marseille [in 2021/22] and I was surprised that Arsenal didn’t keep him because I thought he was better than what we had.
‘But he went on loan and he came back and he showed everybody that that was a mistake and now he’s now the best defender in the league.’
The 22-year-old’s efforts have helped the Gunners go two points clear at the top of the table ahead of Tuesday night’s clash at Luton Town.
He added: ‘There is a unity in the way Arsenal are defending at the minute.
‘Yes, you need to score goals to win the league, but the balance of not conceding and defending as a unit is very important.’