Mikel Arteta already has perfect William Saliba alternative as Arsenal injury concern emerges


Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been left sweating over the fitness of Bukayo Saka and William Saliba ahead of the Premier League clash against Chelsea after the international break. After dominating Erling Haaland and being one of the Gunners' best players against Manchester City, Saliba withdrew from the France squad for the international break due to a toe injury.

The news came shortly after the final whistle in north London, meaning the defender played the entirety of the game through an injury. Fortunately for Arsenal fans, football.london understands that the toe issue isn't a huge concern and has been an ongoing discomfort for some time.

It means there's some hope that Saliba should be back to face London rivals Chelsea in just less than two weeks' time. However, should the French defender not be deemed fit enough to face the Blues, Arteta already has the perfect alternative to start alongside Gabriel Magalhaes.

Takehiro Tomiyasu has shown with his performances for Japan in the last two international breaks that he is capable of performing well at centre-back. The Japanese defender is predominantly used at full-back for Arsenal - but Saliba's injury concern could see Tomiyasu moved to centre-back.

The 24-year-old impressed for his nation once again as Japan picked up a 4-1 win against Canada today. Tomiyasu's display at centre-back helped nullify the Canadians' attacking threat and proved that he is capable of being a solid defender at the heart of the defence.

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Arsenal's decision to sign Jurrien Timber from Ajax in the summer sparked speculation that Tomiyasu could leave the Emirates Stadium - with the Dutchman having a similar profile to the Japan international. Timber is capable of playing at full-back and centre-back, but his serious knee injury has opened the door for Tomiyasu to prove to Arteta he deserves to play a key role in the squad when injuries hamper crucial figures such as Saliba.

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