William Saliba wants a January loan exit from Arsenal, who have been encouraged to rekindle their pursuit of Houssem Aouar.
According to a report by French outlet But Football Club, William Saliba is eager to seal a loan move away from Arsenal in the January transfer window. The 19-year-old has been unable to nail down a regular spot in Mikel Arteta’s side and wants to return to Saint-Etienne on a temporary basis, with the Ligue 1 outfit also eager to sign him.
Saliba joined Arsenal from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019 and was immediately sent back on loan to the French club for the entirety of the 2019/20 season. Having impressed during the course of his time at the Ligue 1 outfit, the youngster was touted to become a long-term solution for the Gunners.
However, so far during his Arsenal spell, Saliba has had to make do with outings for the Under-23s and is yet to turn out for the first-team. The lack of game-time, thanks in large part due to the plethora of centre-backs that Mikel Arteta has at his disposal, forced Saliba and Arsenal to consider a possible loan exit in the summer.
But while a number of clubs were interested in signing the Frenchman temporarily, a transfer never materialised. Now forced to remain on the fringes of the Arsenal first-team, things have reached a head for Saliba, especially after Arteta chose not to make use of his services even amid an injury crisis in the central defensive department.
Saliba is now eager to seal a return to Saint-Etienne in the January transfer window, once again on a loan deal. The Ligue 1 club are also open to the idea of a temporary transfer, and with Saliba held in high regard Geoffroy Stadium, spending half a season at his former club could be prudent for both Arsenal and the player.
Meanwhile, as quoted by Daily Mail, Ian Wright has urged Arsenal to make a move for Houssem Aouar once again despite signing Thomas Partey this past summer. The Gunners were interested in signing the Lyon midfielder in the summer before a deal collapsed in the final days of the window.
Aouar was the subject of intense speculation all through the summer transfer window, as rumours suggested an exit from Lyon after they failed to secure European football for the current campaign. In particular, Arsenal were hot on his heels before his £55 million valuation turned them away.
When the summer transfer window opened, midfield appeared to be an area that was in desperate need of reinforcements at Arsenal. The Gunners then went on to sign Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid once again before ending the window with the big signing of Thomas Partey.
Arteta now has the likes of Partey, Ceballos, Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny at his disposal, with Elneny, in particular, impressing when given a rare chance. However, despite the presence of four reliable options, Arsenal are still in need of an injection of creativity from midfield, which explains why Ian Wright has encouraged them to make a move for Aouar.
“If he can continue to improve, like players improve with his coaching, and then he’s then able to add to that with Aouar, who they’re trying to get in the midfield alongside Partey, then you’ve got someone who can create for the forwards.”
Aouar is indeed one such player who could provide the creative impetus that Arsenal so sorely lack in midfield, which in turn makes their build-up play sluggish. However, it remains to be seen if they reignite their interest in him in the coming windows. Meanwhile, it will also be interesting to see if Saliba can seal a loan move and return to Saint-Etienne in the process.