Saint-Denis [France], July 17 (ANI): Saint-Etienne confirmed that defender William Saliba will not play for the club in the Coupe de France final against Paris Saint-Germain.
"Yes, William Saliba will be absent," Goal.com quoted Saint-Etienne coach Claude Puel as saying.
Saliba's loan contract has expired in the meantime on June 30, meaning Saint-Etienne had to try and negotiate with Arsenal to allow the young defender to play in the showpiece match. Those talks failed, and the player has returned to London having seemingly played his final game for Les Verts.
Saint-Etienne previously slammed Arsenal for "imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions" after they failed to secure a loan extension for Saliba.
"William Saliba had been training for several days with Claude Puel's group and was obviously very enthusiastic about the idea of finishing his time in Green with such a match," the club had said in a statement.
"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 match, the English club imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions," it added.
Arsenal, in response, said they want to protect the welfare of William Saliba as well as the interests of the club.
"Throughout our discussions with Saint-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," the club said in a statement.
"As William is returning from injury, we asked that Saint-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," it added.
Saliba played 17 games for the club throughout the 2019-20 season amid injury problems, until Ligue 1 was abandoned in April as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. (ANI)