Mikel Arteta makes Willian and William Saliba promise to Arsenal fans

William Saliba made a positive impression during Wednesday's friendly against MK Dons
William Saliba made a positive impression during Wednesday’s friendly against MK Dons (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has hinted summer signing Willian and the returning William Saliba are destined for central starting roles in his new-look Arsenal team this season.

Brazil international Willian swapped west for north London earlier this month after taking the decision to leave Chelsea after seven trophy-laden years in west London.

Saliba, meanwhile, was signed 12 months ago from Saint-Etienne but returned to the Ligue 1 club on loan for the 2019/20 campaign.

The elegant centre-half gave an encouraging first performance in an Arsenal shirt during Wednesday’s 4-1 pre-season win over MK Dons and received hefty praise from Arteta.

Arsenal fans are keen to see their new recruits in action on Saturday against Liverpool at Wembley in the Community Shield.

Willian joined Arsenal from Chelsea earlier this summer
Willian joined Arsenal from Chelsea earlier this summer (Picture: Getty)

Arteta admits it may come too early to throw both players into battle against the Premier League champions but indicated both men will be key to his side’s chances of building on last season’s FA Cup success.

He said: ‘I don’t know (if they will play against Liverpool). We’ll make the decision tomorrow on who is going to play and who is going to be involved, but for sure they’re going to see our signings playing a lot of minutes this season.

‘So it’s not a hurry to see them in one game. I know they will be excited and desperate to see them but they will see plenty of them this year.

Arsenal’s late season flurry was sparked by a surprise 2-1 win over Liverpool at the Emirates and reflecting on the significance of that victory, Arteta added: ‘You’re right, I think it gave us a big platform of confidence and belief that we could challenge and play against the top teams at that level as well and beat them.

‘And you know, always finding a way to win a game, after we did it with Man City and we did it with Chelsea but I agree that that moment probably was a moment where the team clicked a little bit and went into more of a belief mode.’

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