Arsenal Statement Cites Fitness Plan and Financial Issues for End of William Saliba Loan

William Saliba loan
Marseille's Argentinian forward Dario Benedetto (L) vies for the ball with Saint-Etienne's French defender William Saliba (R) during the French L1 football match between Saint-Etienne (ASSE) and Marseille (OM) on February 5, 2020, at the Geoffroy Guichard Stadium in Saint-Etienne, central France. (Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP) (Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP via Getty Images)

Arsenal have provided a fresh statement on their young defender, William Saliba who was out on loan at AS Saint-Étienne.

As the 19-year-old spent last season out on loan in Ligue 1, he helped Saint-Étienne reach the French Cup Final.

The Coupe De France was to be played out on July 24. However, the two clubs were unable to reach an agreement to extend his loan.

Arsenal Statement Cites Fitness Plan and Financial Issues for End of William Saliba Loan

Two Factors in Ending the Saliba Loan

Arsenal expressed in their club statement that they were willing to allow Saliba to play the final, but issues contributed to the breakdown in talks.

One of these factors was that the 19-year-old was returning from a lengthy injury. Arsenal wanted to make sure that Saliba was on a training plan which ensured he’d be fit for the start of the season.

But it was believed that both Arsenal and Saint-Étienne could not agree on the fitness programme. Thus Arsenal weren’t willing to risk Saliba getting another injury, which could mean he’d be unavailable for the start of the 2020/21 season.

“To our surprise we were unable to reach agreement to this [training] plan which was proposed by our medical experts, and we are simply not prepared to risk the welfare of an Arsenal player.

The other issue was that of finance. Arsenal stated they did not expect to be “financially disadvantaged by extending the loan. This was also not acceptable to St Etienne.”

Saliba’s Time in France

The Frenchman made his debut for Saint-Étienne in September 2018 in a 3-2 win over Toulouse. He made 13 appearances that campaign and was impressive for the French side.

His performances in the Alps caught the eye of Arsenal and their North London rivals’ Tottenham Hotspur. But after a transfer battle between the two sides, Saliba chose Arsenal.

The Gunners paid £27 Million for the French Under-20s centre-back and gave him a five-year deal. As part of the deal, Saliba returned to the Alps on a season-long loan.

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