Arsenal hit back at St Etienne over Saliba ‘welfare’ issues

Date published: Wednesday 1st July 2020 9:23

William Saliba Arsenal

Arsenal claim they failed to reach an agreement to “protect the welfare” of William Saliba in negotiations to extend his loan deal at St Etienne.

The French club accused Arsenal of “imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions” over a possible extension.

Saliba signed for the Gunners last summer but was loaned straight back to Saint-Etienne to continue his development.

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The 19-year-old defender missed three months of the season with a broken foot as the Ligue 1 campaign was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been no games in France since the beginning of March but Saint-Etienne will meet Paris Saint-Germain in the French cup final on July 24, with the Ligue 1 side hoping Arsenal would allow him to play in that match.

Saliba’s initial loan deal only ran until June 30 but he will be unable to play for Arsenal on his return to the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal released a statement on the matter on Wednesday, it 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.”


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