Arsenal have released a statement to explain why William Saliba will not be extending his loan at St Etienne.
Arsenal have been accused of “imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions” by Saint-Etienne over the extension of Saliba’s loan.
The centre-half joined Arsenal last summer for £27m but was loaned back to the French club in a deal that expired on June 30.
He was expected to extend his loan until the end of July so that he could play in the French cup final on July 24.
However, things have not worked out that way, with Arsenal asking for a “clear training path” which the French club could not provide.
“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,” read the statement on Arsenal’s website.
“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.”
Arsenal request ‘absolutely unacceptable’
St Etienne had early claimed Arsenal’s request was “absolutely unacceptable”.
Their statemet read: “AS Saint-Etienne was pleased to learn yesterday Tuesday that Mikel Arteta, Arsenal coach, was ready to leave William Saliba at the disposal of the club until the final of the Coupe de France, July 24 next.
“William Saliba had been training for several days with Claude Puel’s group and was obviously very enthusiastic about the idea of finishing his time in Green with such a match.
“Sadly, ASSE, who simply wanted the extension of the initial loan until July 24, could not find an agreement this evening with Arsenal to allow the defender to properly prepare and play this match, the English club imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions.”