Arsenal’s request to recall William Saliba and bring him to London in January has been ‘categorically refused’ by St Etienne.
In desperate need of fit and competent central defenders, Arsenal reportedly asked St Etienne if they can have their player back and the Ligue 1 side have, unsurprisingly, said no.
That sounds like a handy type of player to have in your squad when your other options are David Luiz, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi.
Last week, Gilles Favard tweeted that Arsenal wanted to recall Saliba for the second half of the season. Whether that is actually possible or not is still unclear but logic seems to dictate that it is not.
If there was a ‘no recall’ option in his loan agreement, then Arsenal wouldn’t have asked.
If there was, then all they had to do was trigger it.
That Arsenal reportedly asked if they could have him early suggests any recall clause that is included is most likely based around Saliba’s playing time, leaving Arsenal dependent on St Etienne doing them a favour.
They sit in 14th place, eight points above the drop zone with a goal difference of minus seven despite having one of the best defenders in the country, so you can understand why they might say no.
That is, of course, if any of this happened in the first place, although it would seem prudent for Arsenal to at least ask the question given the state of their defence this season.