Arsenal have sent a clear message back to Saint-Etienne after the Ligue 1 club slammed the Gunners for not allowing William Saliba to see out the remainder of the season in France. While the Ligue 1 season was abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic, Saint-Etienne will play the final of the Coupe de France final against Paris Saint-Germain, almost a month after Saliba was due to arrive in London.
The French club then stated that Arsenal had rejected their proposal of keeping Saliba for an extra month before moving towards England in August. Arsenal rejected the proposal and that lead to Saint-Etienne slamming the Premier League club. The Gunners have now also released a statement, explaining their terms were not accepted by the French side and that the well-being of their player is paramount.
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.”