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Arsenal hit back at Saint Etienne claims with William Saliba statement

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Arsenal have been drawn into a war of words with Saint Etienne over William Saliba.

The defender has returned to his parent club following a year back on loan with Saint Etienne this season.

The French league was ended early as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Coupe de France final will be held at the end of July.

Saint Etienne were hopeful of extending the loan of Saliba, so he could play against Paris Saint-Germain in that showpiece final, but no agreement has been made between Arsenal and the French club, meaning he will not be allowed to play.

And the French side hit out at Arsenal, saying they were "imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions".

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Arsenal have released their own statement, hitting back at those claims, however.

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.

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"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.”




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