Saliba left in limbo after confirmation he was "particularly determined" to move

Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne have pointed the finger at Arsenal after young defender William Saliba was denied the chance to return to the club on loan.

Saliba, 19, signed for the Gunners from the French outfit for around £27million last summer, but he was immediately loaned back in order to aid his development.

Although he suffered an injury hit 2019/20 season, he still managed 17 appearances in all competitions before the Ligue 1 season was curtailed, and he returned to London Colney to train with his parent club as they saw out the Premier League campaign, although he wasn't registered to feature.

The France under-20 international was then handed the No.4 shirt and was expected to play a part Mikel Arteta's first-team in the current campaign, but he is still to make his senior debut for the club.

The transfer window has closed with the Gunners still possessing the likes of Rob Holding, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi on their books, as well as summer signings Gabriel and Pablo Mari and established first-team choice David Luiz. Kieran Tierney is also often used in a three-man defence.

That abundance of centre-backs seemingly led the club to sanction a loan return for Saliba to Saint-Etienne, something that both the player and French outfit were willing to do.

However, when no deal could be completed before the closure of the transfer window, the Ligue 1 side released a statement criticising the slow progress on Arsenal's side of the deal.

“Long before the transfer window closed, AS Saint-Etienne had reached an agreement with William Saliba and accepted Arsenal's offer for a one-season loan," said the club on their official website.

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“Unfortunately, all the administrative conditions could not be met in time, in England, for the completion of the deal.

“The disappointment is great for ASSE and William Saliba, who was particularly determined to return to a club where he has flourished.”

Saliba was also linked with loan moves within England, but he is now resigned to staying and fighting for his place at the Emirates despite his apparent desire to move away.

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