Arsenal defender William Saliba is “in the Virgil van Dijk mould”, according to club legend Alan Smith.
Saliba was snapped up for big-money from Saint-Etienne last summer and spent the season back on loan in France gaining experience.
He has now linked up with the Gunners squad and was with his new team-mates in the dressing room as they celebrated FA Cup glory.
Smith, who played over 300 games for Arsenal and is now a Sky Sports pundit, says he has heard encouraging things about the Frenchman.
There are high hopes he could replicate the impact Virgil van Dijk made to transform Liverpool ’s back line.
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But Smith believes Arteta still has big decisions to make alongside Saliba including whether he makes any new signings and what system he will implement.
"With a few quid to spend, another central defender must be on the cards. This area, in fact, is the most interesting of all. Will William Saliba, for instance, be given an early chance after finally coming over from Saint Etienne?" Smith told Sky Sports.
"Saliba, by all accounts, has tremendous potential as a classy defender in the Virgil van Dijk mould. I can just imagine Arteta on that training ground, working hard with the 19-year-old to instil good habits.
"Depending on how that goes, we might see the Frenchman let loose early on. Next to whom is another matter though.
"Will Arteta continue with three at the back, a system that helped bring about such huge improvement?"
Saliba has already expressed his excitement about playing for Arsenal.
Speaking before his arrival in north London, he told L'Equipe : "I have a crush on Arsenal. What it gives off speaks to me. I had no hesitation. I am discovering another world."