Confirmed: Gunners Star Could Still Make Shock Return Before Season Ends

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There’s still a chance William Saliba returns to Saint-Etienne for the Coupe de France final despite their falling out with Arsenal, according to reports.

L’Equipe (via GFFN) report that Arsenal and Saint-Etienne could reopen negotiations for William Saliba to feature in the Coupe de France final later this month.

Earlier last week, both clubs released statements on the subject, suggesting talks were off.

Saint-Etienne angrily claimed Arsenal were ‘imposing absolutely unacceptable sporting and financial conditions’ whilst the Gunners wrote that the French club were trying to leave them ‘financially disadvantaged’ to take their player on loan.

Arsenal’s demands were as follows:

  1. Arsenal wanted Saint-Etienne to follow a specific training plan for Saliba in the build-up to the match. After his injuries earlier in the season, they didn’t want to risk another this month. Their primary concern is obviously Saliba preparing for next season.
  2. Arsenal asked for the removal of a €2.5m bonus clause from Saliba’s loan contract. They’d owe the bonus if Saliba started the Coupe de France final, meaning Arsenal would be paying Saint-Etienne for the Ligue 1 club to take the player on loan.

Saint-Etienne wouldn’t accept either condition. They wanted the player, the money, and the ability to control his training regime for the next few weeks before the match.

It may not be over yet, however. The L’Equipe report suggests Saliba’s desire to play in the game will likely force Arsenal and Saint-Etienne to reopen negotiations.

The French transfer window opens on July 9th. Arsenal could set up a new one-month loan deal at that point. You’d think they’d be even less likely to want to pay the €2.5m now, though. Still, if Saint-Etienne can compromise, maybe the player can play his final.

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