Arsenal have issued a response to Saint-Étienne after the French club released a strongly-worded statement criticising the Gunners for their role in the negotiations of extending William Saliba’s loan at the club.
The 19-year-old defender’s temporary deal at the Ligue 1 club was due to end before their Coupe de Final match against PSG on July 24.
Saliba signed a five-year deal with the Gunners last summer after €30m deal was agreed between the two clubs but he was loaned back to his boyhood club for the 2019/20 campaign.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mikel Arteta admitted Arsenal were working towards agreeing an extension of the loan.
Hours later, Saint-Étienne said any deal was off after Arsenal “imposed absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions”.
The Gunners have now responded.
“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.”
According to reports in France, Saint-Étienne are due another €2.5m from Arsenal if Saliba makes another appearance for them this season.
Arsenal were seemingly unwilling to find an agreement to extend his loan while still having to pay the fee, and the French club wouldn’t waive the clause.