William Saliba may yet depart Arsenal on loan despite seeing his proposed return to Saint Etienne fall through on deadline day.
The Gunners confirmed the signing of the Frenchman last July before loaning him back to Les Verts for the 2019/20 campaign. Saliba officially arrived at Arsenal in the summer but faces an uncertain future in north London.
With the domestic transfer window not closing until 16 October, PA (via The Sun) report that the talented 19-year-old could yet switch the Emirates in favour of a Championship side for the 2020/21 season.
Arsenal are currently debating whether to let the teenager exit on a temporary basis in order to aid his development, with the early signs suggesting he may not currently be at the forefront of Mikel Arteta's plans - despite his potential.
The Frenchman starred alongside Leicester new-boy Wesley Fofana under Claude Puel at Saint Etienne last term amid an injury-hit campaign.
Nevertheless, he's yet to make a Premier League matchday squad this time around with Arteta favouring the likes of Rob Holding, David Luiz, Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney at centre-back.
It's believed that the Spanish boss is keen for Saliba to play regular first-team football this season, which is something he can't perhaps guarantee in north London. Thus, another return to Puel in France would've been ideal but the French club hit out at the Gunners for scuppering the deal as they failed to submit the relevant paperwork in time.
“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," read a statement from the French side.
“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.”
Fulham had also been touted as a possibility, while discussions were also held with Rennes over a one-year loan. Now, the only likely possibility for Saliba to secure regular first team action is a loan move to the second tier.