Rio Ferdinand prefers William Saliba over Lisandro Martinez

Rio Ferdinand would prefer to play Arsenal star William Saliba over £47 million Manchester United man Lisandro Martinez.

One thing that Arsenal fans will remember from the ill-fated tenure of Raul Sanllehi is the arrival of William Saliba. During the managerial reign of Unai Emery, the French defender, a teenager then arrived at the Emirates. But it took him around three years to make his competitive debut.

A series of loans and, after that, a doubtful atmosphere created by Mikel Arteta ensured Saliba’s future always had some uncertainty behind it. However, the moment he played his first game for the club against Crystal Palace, it was clear the Gunners had a gem of a player on their hands.

Since that game, Saliba has gone on to play at a different level and become one of the top defenders in the Premier League. So much so that Manchester United considered poaching him from Arsenal before he renewed his contract.

That four-year deal that Arsenal agreed with him could prove one of their best piece of business during a busy summer window. Edu Gaspar has ensured Saliba will now spend some of his best years with this club, and with that, warded off interest from top sides like Real Madrid or PSG.

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand would prefer Saliba over Lisandro Martinez, who joined the Red Devils in a £47 million deal last year. The pundit believes the Frenchman would go to the very top level in the coming period.

“I would go, Saliba. I think Saliba could potentially be top, top, top,” Ferdinand told talkSPORT, before continuing, “Martinez answered a lot of critics last year, a lot of doubters about his size and stuff like that. Fantastic on the ball. This one, you’re helped by the team you’re playing for. He’s in a very solid, consistent team, Saliba. Martinez isn’t.”

Incidentally, had things gone a bit differently for Martinez, he might have competed with Saliba for a place at Arsenal. In the summer of 2022, the two Premier League giants were in a tussle for the Argentine defender, with Ajax even expecting the Gunners to come through with an offer.

Edu held initial talks with the Dutch giants but did not want to enter a bidding war with Manchester United. Eventually, the Red Devils ended up paying £47 million with a further £8.5 million in add-ons. In his first season, Martinez proved plenty of doubters wrong and had a fantastic debut season.

His qualities have come under scrutiny once more, as Manchester United have had their worst start to a domestic campaign in 34 years. Martinez has since picked up a foot injury that will keep him out of action for the next three months. He would hope to answer some of his critics when he turns, but in that period, Saliba will likely continue to grow in stature.

Leave Comment


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.