William Saliba is keen on sealing a return to St. Etienne as his struggle for opportunites with Arsenal goes on. The 19-year-old was signed by the Gunners last summer and after a season-long loan back with the French club, he was expected to make an impact in north London.
However, Mikel Arteta confirmed that due to a number of variables, the centre-back hadn’t gathered the kind of experience he was hoping for.
“For many reasons, that wasn’t the transition year that he needed because he had a lot of injuries, some personal injuries and also with COVID and the French league getting cancelled, he didn’t have that year,” Arteta said.
“He needs that year of transition and we are trying to make the right decisions for him to give him the best transitional year for him to have the player we want in our future.”
Arteta then made the difficult decision to leave Saliba out of his Europa League squad, with the hope he would secure a loan move to the Championship.
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French news outlet But, suggest that the player refused a move to England’s second tier towards the end of the window.
It is also claimed that St Etienne unsuccessfully tried to arrange a loan deal just before the deadline.
Saliba has been used as in Arsenal’s Under-23 this season, but Arteta has started to sound more promising about his prospects.
Last week, he said of Saliba: “He’s in a much better place now.
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“He’s feeling a lot more confident around the place, his language is improving and he’s starting to understand much better what we’re doing physically.
“He’s played a few games with the under-23s which he needed because he didn’t play any football in the last seven or eight months. Things are progressively getting better and better.”
Despite that, But add that Saliba is pushing for a temporary move back to his old club in the January window.
It hints that the Frenchman is “tired of his situation”, with the interest between club and player mutual.
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Saliba will have been hoping to earn a place in the travelling party for the win over Manchester United, due to a number of defensive injuries.
David Luiz missed the game, while long-term absentees Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers were not available.
Despite that, he was once again omitted, with Rob Holding and Gabriel Magalhaes lining up at Old Trafford.
Luiz is set for a prolonged absence after suffering a thigh injury and will definitely miss Thursday’s Europa League clash with Molde.
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