Arsenal hit back at Saint Etienne with Saliba statement

Arsenal have responded to claims from Saint-Etienne about William Saliba’s loan deal with the French club not being extended.

The 19-year-old joined Arsenal last summer for a fee in the region of €30 million and he was immediately loaned back to the Ligue 1 club, with the deal set to expire at the end of June.

The French league season was ended early due to the COVID-19 pandemic but Saint-Etienne are set to play in the Coupe de France final at the end of July.

Saint-Etienne were hoping to extend Saliba’s loan deal until after final with PSG on July 24th but no agreement has been agreed.

Saint-Etienne released a statement on Tuesday night claiming Arsenal were “imposing absolutely unacceptable financial conditions.”

Before that, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta appeared to give Saliba the green light to play in the final but the Gunners released a statement on Wednesday morning, saying otherwise.

An Arsenal 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.”

Saliba is not eligible to play for Arsenal this season and is also recovering from a foot injury.