William Saliba looks bound for St Etienne in January after former Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy rolled out the red carpet for the centre-back.
Saliba signed for Arsenal last summer for £27m, but immediately returned to the French side to build experience. The loan spell did not entirely go to plan.
In the end, he made just 12 appearances in Ligue 1 before the season was curtailed. Saint-Etienne were unable to push through a deal for him to return a second time.
Hence, it appeared Saliba would have a fresh start with Arsenal this season. However, that has not been the case.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has not been able to find space for Saliba in their squad. Therefore, they did not register him to play in the Premier League or Europa League, essentially freezing him out of first-team football.
He has played just once in the EFL Cup and, according to Canal Plus (via Sport Witness), the French side still need a defender, and would gladly take Saliba back.
And now former Arsenal full-back Debuchy, who is captain of Saint-Etienne, has hinted they would would jump at the chance of re-signing the player.
“I’m sure in the current state we need two or three players to complete this squad,” Debuchy told Telefoot. “Whether it is in defence and perhaps also in attack. I trust the coach to provide these solutions.
“William… we know his qualities. He was very impressive at St Etienne.
“Unfortunately for him at Arsenal the start didn’t go the way he wanted it to, I think. There is William, there is Wesley [Fofana], these are two defenders who left us and who did incredibly well so it was loss.
“If William wants to come back this winter he will be welcome and he will have the advantage of knowing the team.”
Meanwhile, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang admits that the struggle to find the net is Arteta’s current “biggest problem”.
The Gunners‘ creativity has dried up since a 2-1 win over Sheffield United on October 4. Indeed, that game was the last time the club scored a goal from open play in the Premier League.
Since then, Aubameyang has scored Arsenal’s only top-flight strike – a penalty to secure a win over Manchester United.
Several pundits, including Paul Merson, have rounded on Arteta for a response. Former Gunners star Merson also criticised Aubameyang and fellow forward Willian for their lack of contributions.
But Gabon international Aubameyang has backed his boss to overcome the lack of attacking prowess.
“The biggest problem the club is facing right now is the lack of goals, but the manager and the rest of the players are trying to overcome this problem,” the striker told AfriqueSports.