The 18-year-old defender started his career in the same club as Kilian Mob and was driven to succeed by the superstar of Paris Saint-Germain.
There's something about AS Bondy.
The club provided the Arsenal Lighting Platform and the legend of France Thierry Henry, and subsequently put the youths from Lille Jonathan Icone and Paris Saint Germain Ales Kilian Mabapi on the way to the star.
Ligue 1's third fastest-growing talent is touched by the spell of Nordic suburban clothing in Paris, a player with only 16 appearances in the league and a 1546 minute top football team in his name, but with a head of $ 25 million ($ 32 million) and, according to reports, 20 clubs struggling to sign this summer.
This young man is William Saliba, who only signed his first professional relationship with Saint-Etienne last summer and only 18 in March.
He spent six years in Bondy from 2008-14, where the club's own Tinkerbell, Wilfried Mbappe, Kylian's father, dusted him with the magic that later made his career blown up.
"Wilfried taught me everything and if I'm here today, thanks to him," he explained Le Populaire earlier this season with the team of France under 18 years.
"Since his father was my coach, I often went to Kilian's house. When we saw where Killian had come, that made us want him.
Saliba's career is ready to come out similarly to her colleague at the primary school, three years older. He has gone a long way from being a physically impressive, but somewhat indecent young man who turned out to be Bondy.
Arsenal-led clubs of clubs pursuing the central back – who can also play the right of defense when needed – are testimony to the quantum leap he has taken during a remarkable season during which he was promoted by the France under the 17th to the right to the World Cup team under the age of 20.
His rapid pace of advancement is largely due to the brain and body that are unusually advanced for such a young.
Even the chief coach Jean-Louis Gasset, who is generally scared of exposing the first team to a separate academy, will be forced to admit that he deserves regular football although he has previously declared his desire to "protect" his most valuable football. asset.
Saliba's first start came in a Toulouse league match after he replaced emblematic Captain Lois Perrin, as Gassett recalled that "there was less pressure from home than with Stad Jeffroy-Gichard.
Seven of his first nine appearances went out on the road and he was forced to move regularly into the starting XI in the midst of an injury crash.
Initially, for a beginner, it would be easy to be disappointed by skidding and leaving the team despite his strong performances, but unlike Jean-Clair Todibo in Toulouse, who went into war with the club and forced him to fall in Barcelona, and paid off.
The ten best teams were all that Saint-Etienne needed to act quickly and bind him with a new contract that would last until 2023. However, a player who quickly scored the "new Thuram" did not it was a surprise that he had already drawn the attention of others. until then.
Jose Mourinho, former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Chelsea boss, renowned for his defensive ability, are attracted by the young Parisian's physical and reading qualities.
"He has all the assets to become a top player, just like Kurt Zuma I had with me in Chelsea," said Mourinho RMC, referring to the return center, which also started at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, before being sold to Chelsea as a 19-year-old.
Saliba, however, is undoubtedly a more classic, more rounded player than Zouma.
Despite the meteor rise he had enjoyed in recent months, his pressure in the senior game was not necessarily clear.
He began as an offensive player, but struggled with the technical side of the game, with the unusually tall youth relying on his strength, which was so impressive that he surpassed the boys two years older than he was when he was only 13 years old .
"If he wanted to go farther and flourish, he had to go deeper," Abdelaziz Kaddour, who took him to U15 with Montfermeil, a Saint-Etienne affiliate club, explained to France Football,
Missing the class to play offensive and the dynamics to play the half-defense role, the 14-year-old was backed off in defense, much to his initial disappointment.
Three months later, however, it was softened because he was plundered by Sent, whose intelligence Il-de-France Ludovic Paradinas was warned of the monumental young protector of Kaddur.
Since then, there was hardly a teenager, with its impressive power, arranged with a sense of anticipation and understanding of the game that many players have to wait years in their career to build.
Most importantly, the technical disadvantages that prevented him from playing in a more advanced role are almost smooth. The loose passes are small and far between them, he has become more prominent in the use of the ball while he has a coolness, which denies that this aspect of the game has once been Achilles' heel.
Now his weakness is more surprising for a player who is over 6 feet 3in (1.93m); he is still in short supply. Nonetheless, he will surely give all of himself the development of this area.
In fact, his improvement in the weaker aspects of his game is a testimony to the focus he has on improving his game, covering all aspects of his life, including sleep and diet.
This unwavering commitment to improvement reminds of Mbappe's and similar to the Ligue 1 Player of the Year, he maintains a close connection with Bondy.
"Wilo is loved and listened to by everyone, he keeps his feet on the ground," said childhood friend Daniel Mboma France Football,
Saliba played the late but important role in defeating Saint-Etienne in the Europa League, thanks to the fourth place in League One but will not attend when finishing his program on Friday against Angers.
Instead, he will be with the French side U20, as they are aiming to win their world championship in Poland. Saliba will be the youngest player on the team but he will also be one of the most carefully studied.
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"For me, this little one has an exceptional future," Gassett said. "At his age he has maturity, intelligence in the game, technique, size, and above all knows where he wants to go.
"If it all ended quickly, he met him as he progressed every day.
Like Mbappe, this is another graduate Bondy, designed for the top.