Arsenal explained why they recalled William Saliba back from loan after being slammed by St-Etienne for “imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions”. The Gunners signed Saliba from the French outfit last summer following a deal worth £27million but the centre-back was loaned back to Claude Puel’s side.
The 19-year-old’s time at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard has come to an end after the French government decided to abandon the Ligue 1 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, St-Etienne are still scheduled to take on champions Paris Saint-Germain in the French cup final on July 24 and Puel wanted Saliba for the game.
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The club slammed Arsenal’s decision not to extend the defender’s loan deal especially after manager Mikel Arteta appeared open το letting the player stay in France.
St-Etienne issued the following statement: “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.
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“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.
“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.”
Arsenal released a statement explaining that they were open to letting Saliba compete in the French cup final.
However, the north Londoners’ claim they ultimately refused to extend his loan because he was returning from injury and St-Etienne didn’t agree with a training plan proposed by the Emirates physios.
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Arsenal stated: “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.
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“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.”
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