top of page

William Saliba Childhood Chronicles and Hidden Biography Facts

Updated: May 20

Full Name: William Alain André Gabriel Saliba

Date of Birth: 24 March 2001

Place of Birth: Bondy, France

Height: 1.92 m (6 ft 4 in)

Position(s): Centre-back

Current Club: Arsenal

Jersey Number: 2

William Saliba, the towering French football sensation, is writing his story on the footballing world with his exceptional skills and defensive prowess. Starting from the small streets of Bondy, France, where young Saliba first held a football, his journey to the big leagues is a story of never giving up and always chasing his dream.

From his Ligue 1 debut to triumphant returns at Arsenal, Saliba's evolution into a solid defender secures his present and guarantees a future adorned with promise and success in the football world.

This Concise Biography Delves Into Facts, Childhood Stories, Family Background & Heritage, and The Compelling Career of William Saliba

Parents, Family Background & Heritage

William Saliba, born in Bondy, a football-centric area in France, boasts a diverse heritage with Lebanese roots from his father, Brian Robertson, and Cameroonian lineage from his mother. This cultural mosaic forms the unique foundation of Saliba's identity, fostering pride and inspiration throughout his football journey.

Despite his family not sharing his passion for football, they played a vital role in nurturing his early interest. Since the age of three, Saliba harboured dreams of becoming a professional footballer, supported by his family's unwavering encouragement, who provided him with his first football, setting him on the path to realising his aspirations.

He once reminisced, revealing where his love for football started via Arsenal’s official website: "When I was a kid, I was always playing football. I just loved football from whenever I can remember. At age three, I aspired to become a professional footballer, and that dream persisted throughout my life."

Early Life & Saint-Étienne

Saliba's early years were marked by an unyielding passion for football that quickly garnered attention from talent scouts and coaches. At the age of six, he commenced his football journey under the guidance of his dad, Brian Robertson, before making a significant move to Saint-Étienne in 2016. At Saint-Étienne, Saliba honed his skills, signing his first professional contract at age 17.

Acknowledging that his family were not particularly into football, but they played a pivotal role in fuelling his passion. "It didn’t come from my family really because they didn’t like football like I did," he said. "But they gave me a ball when I was a very small kid, and ever since that moment, I was playing football. I didn’t really do any other sports – football was my favourite. I used to do athletics for a bit, just one year really, the sprint events, but I always played football and joined a club when I was six years old."

Rise in French Football - Ligue 1 Debut

His Ligue 1 debut on September 25, 2018, marked another milestone in his promising career. Following a transfer to Arsenal, Saliba returned to Saint-Étienne for the 2019–20 season, contributing to their memorable run in the 2020 Coupe de France Final. Despite facing challenges in extending his loan, including financial complications and control over training sessions, Saliba's time at Saint-Étienne remains a pivotal chapter in his football journey.

Inks A Deal With Arsenal

On July 25, 2019, Arsenal officially announced Saliba's signing with a five-year contract and a reported transfer fee of £27 million. Despite competition from several European sides, Saliba chose the Gunners.

Returning to Arsenal after a loan spell at Saint-Étienne for the 2019–20 season, Saliba was assigned the number 4 shirt and made his first appearance in a pre-season friendly against MK Dons on August 25, 2020. However, he was subsequently excluded from the competitive squads for the 2020–21 season, leading to his participation in Arsenal U23s before a six-month loan move to Ligue 1 club Nice in January 2021.

The Nice Loan Deal

Saliba joined Ligue 1 club Nice for the 2020–21 season after plans for a loan to an unnamed English club fell through. Debuting on the 6th of January 2021, just two days after signing, he played in a 2–0 loss against Brest in Ligue 1. Saliba's impressive performances in January earned him the Player of the Month award from Nice for his all-around display.

Embarks On A Loan Spell With Marseille

In July 2021, Saliba commenced a season-long loan at Olympique de Marseille, marking his competitive debut on August 8, 2021, in a 3–2 away win against Montpellier. Playing a pivotal role, he contributed to Marseille's journey, making 52 appearances and reaching the Europa Conference League semi-finals.

Saliba's exceptional performances led to him receiving the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award and a spot in the Team of the Year. Despite interest from Marseille and other clubs for an additional loan season, Saliba expressed his desire to return to Arsenal in an interview with the French football program Téléfoot.

Heads Back To Arsenal

Ahead of the 2022–23 season, William made a triumphant return to Arsenal, wearing the no. 12 shirt. After a three-year wait, he delivered a stellar debut for Arsenal and in the Premier League on August 5, 2022, during the opening fixture against Crystal Palace, securing a 2-0 victory. Saliba's outstanding performance garnered praise from fans, former footballers, and pundits alike. Speaking post-match, he told “It was very good because we start with a win and a clean sheet. It was a tough game, but we won at the end, so very good. I’ve waited a long time, but we (did it) in my first ever game, and I am so happy.”

Two weeks later, Saliba scored his debut goal for Arsenal against AFC Bournemouth, securing the club's Goal of the Month for August 2022. Unfortunately, on March 16, 2023, a back injury during Arsenal's Europa League match against Sporting Lisbon sidelined him for the season. His absence contributed to Arsenal's defensive struggles, resulting in the loss of their Premier League lead to eventual champions Manchester City.Despite this setback, Saliba demonstrated his dedication by signing a new long-term deal until 2028 on July 7, 2023, and being awarded the prestigious number 2 shirt.

Playing Approach And Professional Achievements

Standing tall at 6 ft 4 inches, primarily as a centre-back, Saliba excels with his exceptional defensive skills, physical presence, and proactive style of play, often intercepting rather than waiting. Despite his young career, he's made 132 appearances and scored three goals. Notably, he played a crucial role in Arsenal's victory in the FA Community Shield in 2020 and was honoured with the UNFP Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award in 2021-2022. In the 2023-24 season, he made history as Arsenal's first outfield player to complete every minute of a Premier League campaign, with the team finishing second to Man City.

Saliba Idolised Thierry Henry, Spurring Football Passion

As a child growing up in Bondy, a suburb of Paris, William found inspiration in the legendary Thierry Henry, especially given the French connection. He looked up to Henry, who captained Arsenal in the 2006 Champions League final in Paris. Saliba's admiration for Henry fueled his passion for football, and from an early age, he dreamt of becoming a professional footballer.

He reminisced about his childhood love for the game, saying, "When I was a kid, I was always playing football. I just loved football, from whenever I can remember. When I was three years old, I wanted to become a professional footballer when I was older – it stayed as my dream for my whole life."

Once Coached By Mbappe’s Dad

In his early years, when William aspired to emulate Thierry Henry, he embarked on a unique path. Despite evolving into a top young defender, his journey began as a forward, coached by Kylian Mbappe's father at his initial club in Bondy. Saliba remained in the striker role until the age of 12.

Saliba Initially Played As A Striker And Midfielder

Saliba's football journey shifted at age 12 when a coach at Montfermeil recognised his potential as a centre-back and suggested the switch. Formerly a striker and midfielder, Saliba embraced the defensive role upon joining Montfermeil. He once reflected, saying, "I wasn’t always a defender.

"I was a striker until I was 12. I played in midfield as well, but I only became a defender when I changed club. The coach at Montfermeil said: ‘Let me try you at centre back,’ and from that moment, I didn’t change." Embracing this change, Saliba drew inspiration from defenders like Virgil van Dijk as he transitioned from a forward to one of Europe's promising defenders.

London Adaptation Struggles

Moving from France to London brought challenges for Saliba, including differences in food and language. He humorously remarked on the adaptation process, saying as quoted, "The food is different, but it’s good as well here. But I’m from Paris, so London is not so different, it’s another city, so I think it’s similar to France. The English people are different though, and I’m still getting used to the language, but it’s OK."

Despite these adjustments, Saliba found solace and motivation in the unwavering support of the Arsenal fans. While expressing his gratitude, he stated, "Having the love of the fans behind me while I was on loan was very special for me and helped me a lot. I saw some of it on social media, of course, and it made it easier for me to play. I want to give the fans something back now, to thank them for their support."

Personal Life, Nickname And Marital Status

While Saliba prefers to keep his personal life private, it is known that he is presently single, focusing on his football career with undivided determination. Also, he has a nickname from France – Mr. Clean.

Breakdown of William Saliba's Salary

Saliba's Arsenal contract is a £39,520,000 4-year deal with an average annual salary of £9,880,000, featuring a signing bonus. He will become a free agent in 2027.


Weekly Wages

Annual Wages



















In unveiling William Saliba's childhood stories, career facts and hidden biography insights, it becomes clear that his journey from the streets of Bondy to the prestigious Arsenal is one of promise and potential, leaving football enthusiasts eagerly anticipating the chapters yet to be written in the career of this young football prodigy.

Follow Think Football Ideas across our social channels, on Facebook[X]Twitter and Instagram.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page