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Arsenal have confirmed that William Saliba will not play for Saint-Etienne despite it seeming like the two clubs might find an agreement to let him play in French cup final.
“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,” Arsenal said on Wednesday morning in a statement.
“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.”
This, it seems, is not entirely true from Arsenal as there was a fee to be paid to Saint-Etienne of €3m should he play in the game.
What it looks like is Arsenal have tried to get them to reduce that fee, the French side haven’t agreed, no middle ground could be reached and Saliba will now return to Arsenal.
He will not be able to play for Arsenal for the remainder of the season due to an agreement between all Premier League clubs.