Marcel Desailly Identifies the two centre backs in the world who are better than William Saliba
Former Chelsea defender and World Cup winner Marcel Desailly believes Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Bayern Munich’s Dayot Upamecano are the greatest center-backs in the world, ahead of Arsenal’s William Saliba.
Saliba was widely acclaimed for marking Erling Haaland out of the game in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Manchester City last weekend, but Desailly downplayed the performance in an interview with the Gambling Zone:
“He didn’t keep Haaland quiet by himself – it was also due to the other players. Arsenal pressed City high and cut out the passes to Haaland. I wouldn’t say Saliba is the best in the world yet. I believe that Dayot Upamecano and Virgil Van Dijk are above Saliba, even though Van Dijk has dropped a little bit.”
“We do, however, need to give Saliba time. He only arrived two years ago and, back then, nobody knew his name. He was never mentioned! Let’s allow him to exercise and practice his craft at the highest level.”
“Saliba has done well and he has the potential, but let’s wait and see what else he can do. The potential is there. He’s surely an international-level player for France. He needs to build up his relationship with the other players in the France camp before he can show what he can do individually.”
Van Dijk is still among the absolute best.
While opposition fans have been quick to dismiss the Liverpool captain following a slump in form last season, he is still a top-tier defender.
The fact that he continues to receive ringing endorsements from players like Desailly, who knows a thing or two about being a centre-back, demonstrates this.
To compete with van Dijk, Saliba must be consistent.
Saliba put on an amazing performance against Haaland, but you shouldn’t be labelled the best in the world based on one or two games. If he maintains his level for two to three seasons, as van Dijk did, there may be a discussion.
As a result, the Arsenal star has a long way to go before matching the consistency of the Liverpool talisman and other world-class center-halves.