Saint Etienne manager Claude Puel claims that Arsenal defender William Saliba wanted to rejoin the Ligue 1 club this season.
Arsenal signed Saliba from Saint Etienne last summer before immediately loaning him back to the French side. The teenager continued his growth with his former club, but was unable to finish the season with them.
It had seemed likely that Saliba would be given a more important role upon his return to Arsenal. However, the signings of Pablo Mari in January and Gabriel Magalhaes in the summer have added competition for a place at centre-back.
Therefore, there were rumours that Saliba could head out on loan again. Saint Ettiene would have been willing to have him back again, but could not find an agreement.
Hence, Saliba will spend the season with Arsenal, where he will have to fight for his place.
Now, Saint Etienne boss Puel has admitted that they made an effort to take him back during the transfer window.
“We tried,” the former Leicester coach told L’Equipe (via Sport Witness). “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.
“It needed to remain coherent for our finances and his contract, in terms of gestation, mostly. Now, and for the future, we don’t allow any meddling.”
Keown questions ‘bizarre’ Saliba situation
Earlier this week, one former Arsenal defender questioned Arsenal’s handling of the Saliba situation.
“It’s bizarre. We’ve just not seen the kid,” Martin Keown told talkSPORT. “You want to see him to see how he performs say in the Championship to see if he’s good enough.
“I’m anxious to see. The feeling was that this was going to be the one.”