William Saliba is keen to return to France in the January transfer window, but could still choose to stay at Arsenal if Mikel Arteta starts to give him games.

William Saliba with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via David Price on Twitter)
William Saliba with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via David Price on Twitter)

But! Football Club report that William Saliba is piquing the interest of several clubs ahead of the January transfer window, including Saint-Etienne and OGC Nice in Ligue 1. Both are interested in taking the defender on loan to the end of the season.

Saliba would prefer to return to Saint-Etienne, but the one remaining ‘uncertainty’ is that he may still stay with Arsenal. If Mikel Arteta starts to integrate the defender into the first team, he may end up staying in North London after all.

So far, we haven’t seen any kind of hint that Arteta plans to do that. Saliba isn’t in the Europa League squad, so there’s no chance of an appearance next Thursday, and the Premier League matchday squads are smaller, with fewer places on the bench.

Arteta would need to drop one of his more experienced centre-backs just to get Saliba in the squad, let alone on the pitch.

Some supporters would argue that’s what the senior options deserve, based on performances, but the manager doesn’t seem to see it that way.

For the time being, Saliba remains with the u23s. The one thing worth pointing out is that with the academy winter break and the busy festive schedule, it’s very possible things change later this month.