One For The Future

Arsenal may have their William Saliba 2.0 in Auston Trusty

Image for Arsenal may have their William Saliba 2.0 in Auston Trusty

Arsenal are riding a fruitful wave in the Premier League, with previous plaguing issues a thing of the past, and the club’s good fortunes look to have spilled onto some of its most promising loanees.

Auston Trusty signed for Arsenal back in January, leaving Major League Soccer side Colorado Rapids after Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was impressed by the firm and unwavering nature of the colossus, though he remained on loan with the Rapids until the summer. 

The United States native – now a loanee at Championship outfit Birmingham City – has been spectacular for the Midlands side so far. And his performances have not gone unnoticed, with City boss John Eustace imploring the USA head coach Greg Berhalter to “come and watch” the fantastic defender.

With the World Cup just weeks away, the 24-year-old will be desperate for recent displays to warrant inclusion in the national squad, yet to make his senior debut on international turf. 

On the chalkboard

Trusty has been in scintillating form since arriving at Birmingham for the current term, playing a crucial part in a defence that has shipped just 15 goals across 17 league encounters, the joint-best in the division.

For a player taking their first step into football outside of North America, this is an impressive feat, with the Championship notorious for its relentless intensity and physicality. 

Regardless, he is flourishing, and Arteta will be closely aware of his progress in the Midlands, and whether this purple patch can translate to the top of the footballing food chain with the Gunners – following the blueprint of a certain flourishing defensive rock.

This is indeed William Saliba, who has finally earned his chance in north London this year after a few loan spells away, having signed for the club in 2019 for a fee of £27m, at just 18 years old.

Trusty outranks Saliba in key defensive areas, making a match average of 2.4 tackles to his 1.0, and 4.4 clearances to his 1.5. 

Whilst the respective players are in vastly different circumstances, such figures are a good omen for the American, who is looking to stake his claim for a role at his parent club. 

Thus far with the Blues, Trusty – who has found the net two more times in the league than Cristiano Ronaldo – has recorded a SofaScore rating of 7.21/10, which towers over the ratings of every single one of his teammates at the club, so it’s little surprise to see the Birmingham boss expect him back at the Emirates Stadium, challenging for a first-team place in the near future.

“He is going to be a top player, he is going to go back to Arsenal, whenever that is, at the end of the season and hopefully push for that first team spot there and I think he certainly deserves to be going to the World Cup. His performances for us having been exceptional and they are only going to get better and better,” Eustace recently told reporters (via Birmingham Live).

After playing 168 matches in the USA, the Spaniard snapped the 6 foot 3 titan up for a meagre fee of approximately £1.62m, perhaps with an eye on shifting him on for an improved figure in the future.

However, developments may have left an imprint on the Arsenal hierarchy, with the player going from strength to strength in just a few months in England.

Should Arteta decide to give Trusty a chance, this may prove a remunerative move; the Gunners boss is reportedly in the market for a defender, and putting faith in his loanee to serve as an understudy to the club’s current pairing results in bolstering other areas that may need reinforcing. 

Once hailed as “incredible” by Blues teammate George Friend, Trusty is making considerable waves in England’s second tier, and could indeed emulate the French Saliba’s journey to Arsenal’s first-team with further dazzling displays.

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