William Saliba, was signed by Arsenal from AS Saint Etienne this summer but was loaned back for this season to the French club. Due to COVID -19 outbreak many loan deals were extended till the season gets complete. However, it was confirmed by both Arsenal and AS Saint – Etienne that William Saliba won’t be extending his loan.
On 30th June, Mikel Arteta was asked about would Arsenal be willing to let William Saliba play in the final of the Coup de France, against PSG on July 24th, to which he responded positively. However, things went messy after that as AS Saint-Etienne put out a club statement regarding Arsenal imposing “unacceptable sports and financial conditions.” Later it was revealed that those financial conditions were Arsenal not willing to pay the French club, €2.5m.
St. Etienne’s Statement
Saint Etienne official statement regarding the situation read : “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. William Saliba had been training for several days with Claude Puel’s group and was obviously very enthusiastic about the idea of finishing his course in Green with such a match.”
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“Alas, ASSE, which simply wanted the extension of the initial loan until July 24, could not find an agreement in the evening with Arsenal to allow the defender to properly prepare and play this meeting, the English club imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions.”
Arsenla Hit Back
However, Arsenal fired back on 1st June, with a powerful statement stating that St. Etienne were unwilling to accept Arsenal’s medical demands for recovery of William Saliba when the defender got injured mid-season. They made a point about protecting the long term interest of Saliba and hence not extending his loan.
“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.
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The Arsenal statement read : “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.”
After Arsenal’s powerful statement it seems like Saint Etienne are willing to budge with Arsenal. Various media outlets have reported that the French club will be willing to ignore the €2.5m fee, they were previously asking the Gunners