Virgil van Dijk and William Saliba parallels are interesting

by .

Well, you know it’s a sign of the non-banter era when the biggest international break debate is whether or not there’s a conspiracy against William Saliba because the club wants to loan him to a Championship team.

A few things I wanted to clarify.


I think he’ll be a top player. The signing, as a standalone investment, was kind of wild, but I think his first season in Ligue 1 showed that he has the tools to make it big for us at some point.


Although I think the deal was bad business, I don’t think it was failed business. This should be a good signing. My overarching point was that signing him was a little bit like spending $16k of your £18k home-improvement budget on beer cooler… before you’ve addressed the fact you don’t have a roof or running water.

Ligue 1 Quality

I 100% believe the Championship slander is off the mark. It’s a very strong league that consistently produces top, top talent. Ligue 1 is superior technically, because France, as a general rule of thumb, does its shit right. However, there’s a reason only one teenage centre back managed more than 300 minutes of football in the last 4 seasons in the Premier League… because it is far more competitive. In France, nine U20 players were given +600 minutes (thank you @GiantGooner), why? Because it doesn’t boast the same pound for pound quality as the Premier League… and I think you’d find that our top Championship clubs would battle it out in the top 8 in Ligue 1.

Generational Stuff

People keep batting around the notion of ‘generational talent’, it’s the new hot thing to talk about. However, it’s worth reading up on the early years of VVD. Things weren’t going off for him at 19 years old. He was apparently ‘overtired’ from playing a season at Willem II reserves. Even more interesting than that, and something that might be a consdieration for Saliba is this little snippet from when the player was 17 years old.

Van Dijk’s long rise began the summer he turned 17, in 2008, when he shot up 18 centimeters (7 inches) in height. Before then, Van Dijk has admitted to the BBC, he was a slow, short right-back with an unstable knee, not a player who was good enough to dominate as a central defender.

Saliba is 6ft4, has a huge frame, and he’s only 19 (debuted younger). That’s rapid growth. That sometimes comes with challenges that are best ironed out outside a top 4 challenging team in the Premier League.

Back to VVD, things eventually clicked at Groningen. He then moved to… Celtic. He left Celtic at 24 to go to Southampton. This generational talent didn’t make it to Liverpool until he was 27 years old. Why am I telling you this? Because we need to drop the idea that this loan says anything about Saliba’s future, and we need to take seriously the reality that it is VERY hard to make it as a young centre back at a big club.


The Premier League announced that we, the fans, can watch all the games this season. The games that aren’t shown on the normal channels can be purchased for £14.95. Wow, what a treat?!

This is a dreadful decision that reads like it has been made by a group of people that would be more likely to know the exact price of an AP Royal Oak, than that of a pint of milk.

The pricing structure makes so little sense on so many levels. Firstly, shouldn’t the league be looking to draw in new customers, versus hammering people you know will already pay £20 for a ticket (the captives)? The price point is so high, you immediately rule out casual fans from the party, that’s money only obsessives pay.

Also, is that sort of price point not a bit detached from humanity in an era of mass unemployment? There aren’t many places to find joy right now. Food, booze, and sport is where I get my kicks. Making football really expensive right now seems really unfair. It’s also counter-productive, because the thing with the internet, is if people think the price is too high, they simply find it for free. The music industry learned that the hard way, then Spotify reimagined its structure for the internet. I’m not sure why the Premier League thinks gouging fans is a smart move?

£5 would be fair. £7.50 would be pricey. £10 for me would be a monthly subscription. £14.95 is just a rip off… it is especially jarring when you consider clubs just dropped £1.2b on players. Between them, the couldn’t come to arrangement to calm down the pricetags and wages of players… so they just dumped the bill on the fans.

I speak out of both sides of my mouth because the reality is I love the signings and I’ll pay the price of the games… but as always, it’s a losing game to be a fan. Still, at least we can all be skint watching Thomas Partey beating the press.

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526 Responses to “Virgil van Dijk and William Saliba parallels are interesting”

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  1. London gunner


    Bernies plan’s were/are very much attainable do some research you absolute pleb.

    We can guarantee higher education as a right for all and cancel all student debt for an estimated $2.2 trillion. To pay for this, we will impose a tax of a fraction of a percent on Wall Street speculators who nearly destroyed the economy a decade ago. This Wall Street speculation tax will raise $2.4 trillion over the next ten years. It works by placing a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades – 50 cents on every $100 of stock – a 0.1 percent fee on bond trades, and a 0.005 percent fee on derivative trades.

    If Wall Street can be bailed out for several trillion dollars, 45 million Americans can and will be bailed out of the $1.6 trillion burden of student loan debt and we can provide free college for all. Some 40 countries throughout the world have imposed a similar tax, including Britain, South Korea, Hong Kong, Brazil, Germany, France, Switzerland and China.

    I guess you and your banker wanker mates wouldn’t like this but fuck you and fuck them.

  2. raptora

    Honestly, as Pedro said, £14.95 is a lot. If your team has a couple of games in a month that aren’t shown on the usual channels, you have to sneeze a £30er. It’s too much. Maybe if it was £10 per game but £15 a month edition where you get all the games of a certain team, it’d be a payable fee.

  3. raptora

    “The Premier League is under pressure to scrap its £14.95-a-game pay-per-view plan amid warnings it could compound the spike in coronavirus cases by driving fans into pubs.”

    A very valid point.

  4. Northbanker

    Rather than do the pay per view, why can’t they reform it so we have digital season tickets? Then a smattering of other games (tbh – highlights of other games is enough for me)

    . I only really want to watch Arsenal and not every other game shown on Sky and BT. Also the clubs should have direct success from their own fan base rather than subsidising every other club.

  5. Moray

    The US needs someone like Bernie.

    There are some huge huge issues there which require a different way of thinking. Just rearranging the chairs isn’t going to cut it for the environment, the bubbles, the systemic job losses from the automation revolution, the ageing population, the screwed economy. Biden has a shot because he is bland and this is what US sees as the antidote to the division, hatred and sociopathy of Trump.

    Such a polarized country. There’s not even a media outlet that isn’t actively and openly prejudiced. What happened to reporting the facts? And Facebook etc has just served to entrench people in their beliefs. On top of this, US has lost any moral superiority they had or thought they had in the world community. Global politics is about having leverage in your discussions and, with Canada, Mexico, Iran, Palestine, Europe, China and Russia this has all gone. Expect the big boys to help themselves now in this moral vacuum. Hong Kong and next Taiwan, Syria, Eastern Europe. It’s all up for grabs now.

    If we think 2021 was bad, let’s wait and see what the next couple of decades bring.

  6. Moray

    I’ve been put off Aouar after the reports of his brother/agent asking For a 10m fee.

    But, the good news is that our team should be pretty well shaped come next summer. I suppose we will look to address this RB issue, depending on the season Bellerin has. We might need one more up front and one ACM. That should be doable, particularly if the health situation is improving and if we finish TOP 4.

  7. Uwot?

    Yep no end of the players he “could have signed”.Must be running into 40’s by now.Has he no idea that his dithering / negotiating prob cost us half of these ? What’s his point anyway?He was the only one to notice their potential greatness? Doubt it.or we would have picked them all up,no?

  8. Ernest Reed

    “If we think 2021 was bad, let’s wait and see what the next couple of decades bring”

    2021? How can it be bad if, in fact, it has never even happened yet? I assume you to jean 2020, Moray?

  9. Bamford10

    What would constitute “failure” for Arteta this season, in your opinion? What should Arsenal fans expect of this team in the PL and in the Europa League?

  10. Bamford10

    Based on what Pete and Charlie have said about this group — i.e., that it is top four quality without Partey — I’d say Arsenal fans should expect (i) to be in contention for 4th come May and (ii) an EL semi-final or better.

    If you take Pete and Charlie at their word, I’d say anything short of those things would represent a failure.

    What do others think?

  11. Aasim

    Honestly don’t think 15 quid is an issue. Get four of your mates over and it comes to 3 quid per person. Buy a six pack from asda and the thing costs you less than going to a pub.

    More interestingly, whose better between Benhrama vs Buendia. Would either of them suit Arsenal ?

  12. WengerEagle


    I can’t speak for everyone on here but I hate watching Arsenal matches with my mates. Do it very rarely and only when they’re playing United or Liverpool who they all support.

    Not very practical solution unless you have a group of Arsenal supporting mates you have access to seeing every weekend.

  13. Chris

    From the Arsene Q&A in The Guardian:

    “What do you think of Tottenham?
    Jasmine Baba, London

    Hostility no, competition yes. It was vital [at Arsenal] that you beat Tottenham for the respect of the club. Competition is important, as long as it’s not crazy. When you [were due to] play Tottenham, at the start of the week everybody was a bit more nervous than usual.“

    A nice response but something tells me it isn’t the answer Jasmine was hoping for.

  14. Chris

    The £14.95 per match is horrendous, when you think a Sky Sports day pass is £6.99 on Now TV. However there may be the thinking behind it being that much to protect a live audience if and when live attendance returns (someone suggested this here yesterday, I agree).

    Perhaps cinema will go the same way, £20 to watch a film after initial subscription on Disney+, was it Mulan? Not my cup of tea but other films surely to follow suit.

  15. raptora

    This is a link to the Telegraph World exclusive news. It’s a google link cause the original needs a subscription.

    As 99% of every fan out there, on first read I don’t support it.
    Then again, it’s been long due to freshen things up a bit.

    Playoffs for the last spot of UCL qualification could be exciting for the fans. Championship’s playoffs for the last Premiership spot is one of the reasons Championship has been doing better lately in my opinion. Pretty sure people who don’t watch Premier League but say La Liga would turn on the TV and watch playoffs between say Manure, Chelsea and Arsenal. It’s one of the good ideas.

  16. Chris

    Receding Hairline

    I would back an 18 team PL, and probably the abolishment of the league cup too. I would keep the community Shield though.

    Introducing the 3rd lowest places PL team into the Championship playoffs would be interesting, I believe this is how it is done on Scotland but I am not sure it has favoured the lower league team there too often. However in England there is probably not too much difference between a top 4Championship side and a bottom 4 PL team.

    Heck, why stop at one PL team in the playoffs. Relegate the bottom 2 automatically and the next 3 up join in playoffs with 3-5 placed teams in the Championship. It may rid the culture of just doing enough to survive in the PL just to pick up the tv money.

  17. Receding Hairline

    “I would back an 18 team PL, and probably the abolishment of the league cup too. I would keep the community Shield though.”

    What’s wrong with a 20 team PL? I don’t see the need to reduce the number of teams.

    Really don’t care about the shield or the league cup. its a competition that only matters when you win it and means nothing when you don’t.

  18. Chris

    Receding Hairline

    An 18 team league means less games, which is much needed in football as a whole. There would be less meaningless games towards seasons end between teams safe from relegation but with no hope of Europe.

    I may be traditionalist but I like the seasons curtain raiser being the charity shield. This part is not so traditional but I would repackage it as the English Suoer Cup (new trophy obviously) and hold it at the venue of the Cup Winners.

  19. raptora

    Ye what’s wrong with League cup in general? I’d rather see stupid ass useless national team games get reduced. Play the qualifications and the tourney in the Summer. Make it in one go. Not across a full year where players have to travel across the world and we don’t get any club football for weeks every other month.

  20. Chris

    The league cup has been second rate for close to 20 years. If it’s main purpose is to play the kids and reserves then perhaps it has outlived its welcome as a serious competition.

    With this new deal there is two of lining out up to 15 players in the league and up to four at one club. Youth players can get plenty of games this way.

  21. Marko

    Everyone loves a good international tournament so no scrapping international football won’t do. But certainly I’d have one or two breaks for friendlies a year max and that’s it. Far too much of that shite goes on. I mean we’re in one now and there’s another one in November as well. What bollox

  22. Receding Hairline

    “The league cup has been second rate for close to 20 years. If it’s main purpose is to play the kids and reserves then perhaps it has outlived its welcome as a serious competition.”


  23. Marko

    Do kinda agree about the league cup. It’s basically seen as an excuse by some for a good season when in truth teams play reserves until the semi final or final. What’s it like 4/5 games to win it? Pfftt

  24. raptora

    Djoko is such a grinder. You would expect a 6-0 set to break him and maybe get some free games after it, but the dude never gives up. Has 9 lives too. So hard to play versus someone who never backs down regardless of the state of his game at the exact moment.

  25. TR7

    ‘Djoko is such a grinder. You would expect a 6-0 set to break him and maybe get some free games after it, but the dude never gives up. Has 9 lives too. ‘

    Still hurts that he beat Fed in a 5 setter in Wimbledon being 2 sets down and defending 2 match points in the 3rd set. It’s never over against him until the last point has been played.

    Rafa playing some sublime tennis today.

  26. Champagne charlie

    “If you take Pete and Charlie at their word, I’d say anything short of those things would represent a failure.“

    Can you stop baiting other posters with your name dropping nonsense and just have an original thought you offer up to the rest? My POV isn’t for you to take around the houses for a reaction, it’s as meaningless as the next posters.

    That said.., I think you fail to get a lot of traction because it’s become clear to anyone that’s here with any regularity that you’re not a genuine fan, and that you’re a bit of a waste of time. I mean look at the following:

    “What would constitute “failure” for Arteta this season, in your opinion? What should Arsenal fans expect of this team in the PL and in the Europa League?“

    You’re literally asking Arsenal fans what failure is, says everything about how you position yourself on here. No calls for what success would look like, it’s forever written in the negative. You really are a boring cunt, you’re sat with the tomatoes in hand drawing up metrics that would allow you to boo and hiss end of season. Grow up.

  27. raptora

    Rafa is just the king in RG. Makes you wonder at 34 yo, demolishing people left and right, who would dare to say he will not be winning another 3-4 RG title by the time he’s 40 yo.

    He is 1 set away from winning his 100th Roland Garros game. 99 wins 2 losses so far. Extraordinary.

  28. TR7

    Nadal never beaten on clay by either Roger or Novak.

    13 French Open title will most likely become an unbreakable record just like Don Bradman’s batting average of 99.96.

  29. WengerEagle

    Mental how dramatic a difference there s between surfaces.

    This is looking like Djokovic’s AO Final 2019 beatdown of Rafa in straight sets in under 2 hours.

    Rafa-Novak on Hard Court/Clay isn’t actually competitive. It’s why Federer’s rivalry with Djokovic is arguably the most interesting.

  30. Marko

    it’s as meaningless as the next posters.

    Ah don’t think that way about yourself

    … but yeah.

    Bang on about Bamford though his act is clear as day. Literally only wants to ever talk about his one topic constantly and that’s failure because of the squad and bets and Mikel. It’s some bubble he lives in

  31. WengerEagle

    ‘Nadal never beaten on clay by either Roger or Novak.’

    Djoker did beat him at RG in 2015 tbf, although that was Rafa as a shell of himself.

    Nadal at Roland Garros is as close to unbeatable as you’ll get in sports. Just edged out by Floyd Mayweather, Jon Jones and Khabib.

  32. Marko

    But anyway Ghana and Qatar international friendly tomorrow at 17:30 in turkey. Hopefully all it all goes smoothly and Partey is back in London Tues and Wednesday for training and such

  33. TR7

    Funny thing is Novak would have been 2 sets up against any other player except Rafa with the tennis he’s played in the last 1 hour or so.

  34. Guns of Hackney

    Rafa Nadal’s left arm looks like it’s been working overtime on pornhub for the past 15 years. Popeye proportions. Weird.

    To even discuss his GOAT is pointless. Tennis is an absolute shit mess to watch. Garbage. Almost as bad as 95% of football and all of F1.

    The last great era of tennis was mid to late 80’s to early to mid 90’s.

    All sport has become a procession. American football was, boxing was, F1, football…draining.

    Without competition, sport isn’t sport.

  35. WengerEagle


    And this isn’t even prime Rafa.

    None of the new gen can live with him at RG, Djokovic was supposed to be the toughest hurdle to overcome and he’s flattening him in straight sets today. A guy that hasn’t lost all year in over 30 matches or something crazy.

    Really is probable that he keeps winning RG late into his 30s. Thiem is hyped a lot but Rafa still batters him on any given day at RG.

  36. alexanderhenry


    ‘If people are buying a property in London, it’s because it’s a great place to live, ‘.

    That’s a little over simplistic.
    I’ve lived in London all my life and what has increasingly become the case is this:

    If you’ve got a very well paid job or a family well off enough to buy you a flat then yes, London is a great place to live.

    Most Londoners aren’t in that situation though, and as the city has become increasingly gentrified, even a reasonably well paid job won’t leave you much left over to go to boutique eateries in Soho, buy imported designer trainers in Shoreditch, catch a west end show, go to the opera or keep paying your Grouchos membership.

    As a result things have changed. Not that long ago you could still slum it and live somewhere like Hackney or Brixton with relatively low rent and do your thing, whether it was being a conceptual artist, out of work actor or musician.
    Now, it’s virtually impossible which is worrying because that’s where the creativity and edge comes from.
    It doesn’t come from corporate entities and oligarchs buying up swathes of property in Kensington, nor does it come from the money machine that is the City of London.

    The reason why buying property in London is still a gold plated investment is becasue the city is still full of plenty of millionaires- more than any other European city- and because the UK has the most under regulated, lasissez faire property market in Europe.and some of the laxest planning regulations.
    That’s why there’s a lot of dirty money in London and dodgy ‘global’ investment.

    Next time you’re in town have a look at what they’ve done to Charing X Rd. It’s shocking, and not in a good way.

  37. TR7

    ‘Without competition, sport isn’t sport.’

    Men’s tennis has been highly competitive over the last 3 decades. Can think of at least 30 players who have been superb players in their own right.

  38. TR7

    I have a serious problem with this misleading term ‘unforced errors’ in tennis. Most of the ‘unforced’ errors are actually forced errors.

  39. James wood.

    My Father died recently.
    My Sister and I have been trying
    to sell his 1 bedroom leasehold flat
    in Parkhurst rd for 3 months.
    We have reduced the price twice.
    The Corporation of London are not even buying back leasehold flats.?
    There is a massive glut of property in the N7 area.New builds in Holloway rd and Caledonian
    Rd as well as the Kings cross area have flooded the market.

  40. Left Testicle

    Interview with Wenger. Great read. When he talks, you listen.
    You may listen. I don’t.

  41. Pierre

    The Wenger interview makes one feel embarrassed to be an Arsenal supporter for the way a section of the fan base abused him.

    How will history judge the entitled WOBS…not very favourably one would think.

  42. raptora

    That’s why I don’t like Djoko. Court is sliding too much, before hawk shot the refs were always wrong, shouts, breaks rackets. Negative stuff. Rafa and Roger were always classier in their behavior.

    Nole obviously a great champion.

    That smash from the base line was insane.

  43. Pierre

    If and when Wenger steps foot in the Emirates ground to watch the team he loves, I can guarantee you that 60,000 fans will stand and applaud him all the way to his seat as a mark of gratitude for the joy he brought to millions of Arsenal fans around the world..

    Arteta should invite him and welcome him back when the fans return .

  44. Luteo Guenreira

    Bamford’s inferiority complex to Pedro and Charlie is becoming more serious by the day.

    Haven’t seen a dynamic more lopsided since the Harlem Globetrotters went undefeated against the Washington Generals for the better part of six decades.

  45. Pedro

    Alex, I know man, not great. If there’s nowhere for the artists and culture makers to live, it’ll be a boring place to live.

    I bought near Tower Bridge Road. It was a state, now it’s fancy as… climbing shops, bike shops selling coffee, craft beer pubs… which, I like, but it’s amazing how fast they’ve changed the area.

  46. Luteo Guenreira

    “I can guarantee you that 60,000 fans will stand and applaud him“

    It’s the least they could do after all the signs calling for his sacking the last time he was there.

  47. Luteo Guenreira

    Unbelievable to watch someone be this dominant on one surface for so long. Well played Rafa.

    He should try to win 20 French Opens. He will probably get to 15 at the least.

  48. raptora

    Pure dominance. What a slap to the face.

    Make no mistake. Roland Garros or not, today was a comparable result to Bayern M’s 8 – 2 versus Barcelona. Annihilation.

  49. Bamford10


    Nonsense. He should have been dismissed years before he was, and intelligent Arsenal fans were right to want him out. He was incompetent in his final years, and he was completely contemptuous of the fans. That it got as unpleasant as it did was a function of his staying on too long and of his arrogance and obliviousness. Those who wanted Wenger to go were absolutely correct, and if he had left years earlier when he should have, things would never have gotten as unpleasant as they did.

  50. WengerEagle

    Well done to Rafa, Djoker couldn’t live with him today.

    Imagine telling anyone in 2016 that Nadal would go on to win 6 more GS titles and be competitive again at all 4 majors.

    Was always inevitable that he would catch Fed’s 20, is whether or not Djokovic can win finish with more than him now. Probably 50-50 chance now, that was huge today.

  51. Bertie Mee

    The African continent has debunked covid19, time to move on, its a flu pandemic

    Thanks Sid.
    I will tell the widow of my friend who died in May of Covid and his two kids so they know it’s not serious .