St Etienne, 19-year-old defender William Saliba is now on his way to Arsenal. They signed Saliba last summer, however the Gunners agreed to allow the defender to remain with Les Verts for the 2019-20 season.
St Etienne are due to take on PSG in the Coupe De France showpiece on July 24, and will have to go into that game without Saliba.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was asked about Saliba’s situation.
He said: He has earned his right to play that final if their manager wants to do that. I think we have to give him the opportunity to do that, to enjoy that, and we can have him after that.
St Etienne posted an article on their website confirming that they failed to agree a contract extension with Arsenal.
St Etienne’s message read:
AS Saint-Etienne was pleased to learn yesterday Tuesday that Mikel Arteta, Arsenal coach, was ready to leave William Saliba at the disposal of the club until the final of the Coupe de France, July 24 next.
William Saliba had been training for several days with Claude Puel’s group and was obviously very enthusiastic about the idea of finishing his time in Green with such a match.
Sadly, ASSE, who simply wanted the extension of the initial loan until July 24, could not find an agreement this evening with Arsenal to allow the defender to properly prepare and play this match, the English club imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions.
Arsenal hit back against the accusations from St Etienne.
According to the Gunners, St Etienne’s actions lead to the breakdown after the French club failed to agree “a clear training plan” as Saliba is returning from an injury. The statement read:
Throughout our discussions with St Etienne, our aim has been to protect the welfare of William Saliba as well as the interests of Arsenal Football Club, while honouring the terms of the loan.
Despite the loan ending on June 30, we were willing to find a way for William to play in the [French] cup final on July 24, despite having no contractual obligation to do so.
As William is returning from injury, we asked that St Etienne follow a clear training plan with William in close collaboration with us, to ensure he is fully fit for the start of next season.
To our surprise we were unable to reach agreement to this plan which was proposed by our medical experts, and we are simply not prepared to risk the welfare of an Arsenal player.
While it was not our primary concern, and ultimately not relevant as our training plan was not accepted, we also expected not to be financially disadvantaged by extending the loan. This was also not acceptable to St Etienne.
We know this is a disappointment for William but he understands we are working to protect his long-term interests and those of Arsenal.