Saint-Etienne blame Arsenal for collapse of Saliba loan deal

Saint-Etienne have blamed Arsenal for the collapse of their season-long loan deal for defender William Saliba.

Saliba, 19, signed for the Gunners last summer from Saint-Etienne but spent the 2019/20 season back on loan at the Ligue 1 side.

A number of injuries curtailed his campaign, as did the early end of the French football season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Saliba also missed out on playing in the Coupe de France final after a disagreement between Saint-Etienne and Arsenal over his training regime.

That saw the teenager begin training at Arsenal’s London Colney campus in July – but he was somewhat surprisingly omitted from the matchday squad for both opening two Premier League wins against Fulham and West Ham.

And there had been rumours before deadline day that a return to France on loan could be on the cards, with Saint-Etienne’s Ligue 1 rivals Rennes also linked, but the centre-back has stayed at the Emirates.

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And now Saint-Etienne have claimed they had a deal lined up for Saliba a “long” time before the transfer window slammed shut on Monday evening – but Arsenal failed to file the paperwork in time.

In a statement, the French club said: “Long before the transfer window closed, AS Saint-Etienne had reached an agreement with William Saliba and accepted Arsenal’s offer for a one-season loan.

“Unfortunately, all the administrative conditions could not be met in time, in England, for the completion of the deal.

“The disappointment is great for ASSE and William Saliba, who was particularly determined to return to a club where he has flourished.”


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