Footy Extras

€30m Arsenal signing wanted to move back to Saint-Etienne

Saint-Etienne boss Claude Puel has stated that Arsenal defender William Saliba was keen on rejoining the French club on loan in the international transfer market.

Arsenal forked out €30 million to agree on a deal to sign William from Saint-Etienne last year and the Frenchman spent the 2019/20 term on loan at his former club.

The gifted defender was expected to make a mark at the club following joining the club in the summer, but the player has struggled for relevance in north London and is yet to make his debut for Arsenal.

The Gunners were looking to loan him out towards the end of the international transfer market and Saint-Etienne were keen to take the star back to France.

Puel conceded that the defender was interested in rejoining Saint-Etienne and it’d have taken little to no time for him to settle back in if the Frenchman had moved back to France.

But he indicated that eventually, the deal didn’t make financial sense for the club and William stayed at Arsenal.

Asked about Les Verts’ attempts to re-sign Saliba, Puel told French newspaper and TV channel L’Equipe: “We tried. He had a great desire to join us.

“The club are a bit like family and friends [to him]. His adaptation would have been instant. This would have happened if all the conditions had met.

“It had to remain consistent with our finances and his contract, particularly for the management.”

The highly-rated central defender has been left out of Arsenal’s UEFA Europa League squad.