Saint-Etienne have hit out at Arsenal after negotiations to extend William Saliba’s loan deal for one more match fell through.
The 19-year-old centre-back, signed by the Gunners for a potential £27million last summer, spent the season on loan with the Ligue 1 side.
That deal officially expired on Tuesday.
But ASSE face Paris Saint-Germain in the French Cup Final this month and were keen for Saliba to feature.
With the teenager unable to play for Mikel Arteta’s men until the 2020-21 Premier League season, the two clubs have been locked in negotiations to allow Saliba to play one last match for the club.
Indeed, Arteta was keen for Saliba to stay and play.
“He has earned his right to play that final if their manager wants to do that,” said the Spaniard.
“So I think we have to give him the opportunity to do that, to enjoy that and we can have him after that.”
But the two sides have failed to come to an agreement over a clause which could have seen Arsenal pay £2m if he started on July 24.
Saliba has made 16 appearances this term – a 17th would have forced the payment.
Saint-Etienne wanted an extension of terms, but Arsenal chiefs decided they would not accept if the ‘starts’ clause, leaving them liable to pay out, remained.
Now the French side have blasted the Gunners’ top brass for their stance and what they see as a late attempt to move the goal posts.
A club statement declared: “William Saliba had been training for several days with Claude Puel’s group and was obviously very enthusiastic about the idea of finishing his course in Green with such a match.
“Alas, ASSE, which simply wanted the extension of the initial loan until July 24, could not find an agreement in the evening with Arsenal to allow the defender to properly prepare and play this meeting, the English club imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions.”
Saliba is now expected to return to London Colney to train with Arsenal, as he works towards being a member of Arteta’s first-team squad next season.
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