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William Saliba had ‘great desire’ to get away from Arsenal before deadline

Arsenal defender William Saliba had a ‘great desire’ to return to Saint-Etienne this summer.

That’s the view of the Ligue 1 side’s manager Claude Puel who admitted his club failed in their attempt to sign the player on loan for the season.

Saliba moved to the Emirates from his boyhood club in 2019 but stayed at the French side on loan for a season as part of the transfer agreement.

However, following his eventual arrival in north London, there has been some uncertainty about his role in Mikel Arteta’s immediate plans, with another temporary switch mooted.

Saint-Etienne appeared to be the front runners for his signature but a move failed to materialise before the close of the European transfer window on October 5.

“We tried,” Puel told L’Equipe as quoted by SportWitness . “He had a great desire to return.

“The club is a bit like his family and friends. His adaptation would have been immediate.

“It would have been done if all the conditions had been met.”

Despite being given the number 4 shirt for the season, there was further speculation over the player’s short term future after he was left out of Arsenal’s Europa League squad along with Mesut Ozil.

Rumours of a move to a Championship club followed but again nothing was agreed by the close of the domestic window earlier today.

Having failed to make an appearance for Arsenal so far this season, it remains to be seen if Saliba is named in Arteta’s Premier League squad, announced on October 20.

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