Oleksandr Zinchenko has revealed his admiration for his Arsenal teammate and top defender William Saliba.
Speaking with Manchester United legend and Premier League pundit, Rio Ferdinand on his FIVE YouTube Channel, Oleksandr Zinchenko hailed William Saliba’s qualities, his cadence and handling of the ball, resourcefulness, and skills.
The Ukrainian compared William Saliba to a “Rolls-Royce,” delineating his impeccable and brilliance with the ball. He also revealed how he was humbled when the Brazil international scored from his weaker foot against Bournemouth and recorded zero mistakes against Chelsea.
Zinchenko, however, added he did not know William Saliba before he joined the Gunners from Manchester City last summer.
The Ukrainian star said he saw the French defender for the first time in Arsenal training. He added that he was impressed with the defender’s contributions to the team.
“Rolls-Royce. So good, I love him so much. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t know him before I came to Arsenal when I saw him from the training sessions, I said: ‘Who is this guy?’.
“Then, first game against Chelsea, pre-season, zero mistakes. This guy never makes mistakes. Then he scored the goal with the left foot against Bournemouth. I went to my knees because I said: ‘This guy, he can do everything’,” he said.
Zinchenko and William Saliba were integral part of Arsenal’s revamped squad that challenged Manchester City for the Premier League title last season.
Zinchenko was one of Mikel Arteta’s hit signing last summer, who gave the Gunners an attacking edge on the left-back role. He made 27 Premier League appearances for Arsenal last season, scoring one goal and delivering two assists.
Overall, it was a stellar start to life for the Ukrainian at the Emirates with his pace, agility and skills which rounded up Mikel Arteta’s attacking football but the accolades also go to William Saliba, who made a great defensive pairing with the former Manchester City star.
Saliba was the backbone of Arsenal’s title challenge and Mikel Arteta’s defense strategy last season. He made 27 appearances for Arsenal, scoring two goals and delivering an assist.
Since joining the club from French side Saint Etienne in 2019, the 2022/23 Premier League season was his first full season with Arsenal. Initially struggling for a place in the squad, the French center-back was loaned to his parent club Saint Etienne in 2020, Nice in 2021, and Marseille in 2022 before finally settling with Arsenal last season.
Arsenal owed a lot to Saliba in their bid to challenge for the Premier League title last summer. The Gunners’ title chase was dealt a heavy blow when William Saliba limped off the pitch on March 16 with a back injury against Sporting CP in Europa League.
The injury saw the 22-year-old missed Arsenal’s last 11 Premier League games which marked the team’s slump in their title chase.
Saliba was left out of Arsenal’s preseason and is yet to recover fully ahead of Arsenal’s 2023/24 Premier League opener against Nottingham Forest.
He is set to miss the game but is likely to return to action early in the season according to reports.