Rewind twelve months and the Ghanaian centre back was an international man of mystery around St Mary’s following a summer move from La Liga. A relative unknown for many, it took an age for Salisu to make his debut in red and white due to an unfortunate injury sustained. When he finally appeared in Saints colours, the season was already fast forwarded to February and the 22 year old was thrown into a team in relative free-fall in the league.
For all the frustrations that the second half of the season brought for Southampton following their brief stay at the summit of the league in November, Salisu was a rare bright spot for an often beleaguered Saints side. Fans were impressed with his pace, physicality and tackling, especially in a team that was sorely lacking in confidence.
His rise to prominence has helped ease the departure of Jannik Vestergaard and surely the question now is not whether he starts but rather who partners him. Salisu was majestic at times against United – strong in the air and always with enough pace to nullify the threat of Martial and Greenwood on the counter.
His positioning was excellent throughout, the highlight being a goal-line block following a chaotic scramble in the box. There are also early signs that Salisu is cultivating a healthy relationship with Romain Perraud down the left hand side. If he continue this form, Saints fans will feel cautiously optimistic about their campaign this season.