Mikael Silvestre Exclusive: Gabriel And White Gunners Defensive Future
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Mikael Silvestre Exclusive: Gabriel And White Gunners Defensive Future

Former Arsenal defender Mikael Silvestre believes his old club should stick with the centre-back partnership of Gabriel and Ben White next season – despite William Saliba impressing while out on loan at Marseille. Saliba was signed from Saint-Etienne as a teenager in 2019, but has yet to make his first-team debut and has returned to his native France on loan three times since joining the club. Additionally, Gabriel and White were purchased in successive summers following Saliba’s arrival, and the two have gone on to establish a successful partnership at the heart of the Gunners’ defence – one Silvestre does not think should be broken up.


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Gabriel And White Partnership

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “If you look at Gabriel and Ben White, I think that should be the partnership for next season. 

“If Saliba comes in, he will be a back-up. It is a difficult one because he will know that if he comes back to Arsenal, he will know that he won’t be the first choice. 

“He is still young and I would be tempted to give him another year on loan so he can become even more consistent. 

“He has improved on this loan, but there have been some games where he wasn’t at his best level. 

“To develop and to become a big part of Arsenal for the future, if you put him on the bench after playing a full season for Marseille, that would be a backwards step in his development. 

“They have to make a big decision on his future.”

Mikael Silvestre Exclusive: Top-Four Between Arsenal And Spurs

Mikael Silvestre Exclusive: Top-Four Between Arsenal And Spurs

Impressive White

Silvestre has kept a keen eye on the performances of White in particular, suggesting that the Englishman has settled in after a tough start to the campaign – and has backed the centre-half to continue improving.

“[White] had a difficult start,” he explained. “At the beginning of the season it took him a bit of time to settle. 

“I think he has progressed well and he is trying to establish a partnership with Gabriel and that is something that will get better over the seasons at Arsenal. 

“It was a big money move. When you buy English players from fellow Premier League teams, you can expect to pay at least an extra £10million more than you would for a player from outside the league. 

“I think it is a long-term project, so the fee is what it is and I think he can deliver for [Mikel] Arteta and Arsenal.”

Mikael Silvestre Exclusive: Not Much To Be Proud Of At United

Mikael Silvestre Exclusive: Not Much To Be Proud Of At United

Marquee Signing To Come

Silvestre added that he expects a marquee forward to be signed by the Gunners this summer, following the likely departures of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left for Barcelona in January.

“Every summer you need to bring in fresh blood to challenge the players that are already there,” he said. 

“You need to demonstrate to the players that as a club you are committed to improving, otherwise you stagnate and go backwards. 

“At the highest level of football, you need to stimulate your players and as a player, you expect signings, good signings. 

“For Arsenal, I think they should add one or two established players to build on what they have, but they have to be careful because they don’t want to block the development of [Emile] Smith Rowe, [Bukayo] Saka, [Martin] Odegaard. 

“I’m not sure what is happening with Nketiah and with Aubameyang leaving and Lacazette seemingly on his way out, I would think a forward should be a priority.”

 

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