William Saliba is under pressure at Arsenal before he has even kicked a ball in anger, claims Martin Keown.

The Gunners tied up a £27 million (€30m/$35m) deal for the promising centre-half back in the summer of 2019.

Part of that agreement with Saint Etienne included a season-long loan option that would keep the France U20 international in his homeland for another 12 months. Arsenal are now welcoming Saliba onto their books, with expectation building as the 19-year-old prepares to make his bow.

The Gunners’ struggles in defence over recent years have been well documented, with Mikel Arteta being urged to address those issues.

The hope is that Saliba will help to plug the leaks having starred in Ligue 1, but Keown is wary of demanding too much from a relatively inexperienced performer and Premier League novice.

Quizzed on whether an Emirates Stadium new boy is seeing undue pressure placed on his shoulders, former Gunners centre-half Keown said in The Independent: “There definitely is. It is one of those where I would have been happier if Arsenal had paid more money and brought him in straight at the start of last season.