Rennes have made a late approach to sign William Saliba on loan from Arsenal, according to reports in France.
Saliba, who was signed in a £28 million deal from Saint-Etienne, began training with Arsenal in July but has not yet made his first-team debut for the Gunners.
The 19-year-old was left out of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup clash against Liverpool on Thursday evening as Mikel Arteta’s side beat the Premier League champions on penalties.
According to Ouest-France, Rennes are now in talks with Arsenal over a potential loan deal for Saliba which would see him return to France for another campaign.
Saliba spent last season on loan at Saint-Etienne before joining up with Arsenal.
Ouest-France report that Arsenal would be open to sending Saliba out on loan, while the defender could gain vital experience with Rennes as they have reached the Champions League group stage and are looking to build on last season’s third-place finish in Ligue 1.
Arteta, meanwhile, explained after Arsenal’s win over Liverpool that Saliba needs a ‘year of transition’.
‘He had year last where Arsenal essentially loaned him to Saint-Etienne and that was a transition year for him,’ said Arteta.
‘For many reasons, that wasn’t the transition year that he needed because he had a lot of injuries, he had some personal issues and obviously with COVID and the French league getting cancelled, he didn’t have that year, so he needs that year of transition.
‘He needs that year of transition and we are trying to make the right decisions for him to make the best possible year of transition for him to have the player we want for our future.’
Calum Chambers is expected to depart following interest from Leeds United and Newcastle United, while Lazio have held extensive talks to sign Shkodran Mustafi.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos could also depart before the end of the window with Napoli keen on the Greek defender as a potential replacement for Kalidou Koulibaly.