Saturday, June 15, 2024

Arsenal hit back at Saint-Etienne as Saliba row intensifies

Arsenal have explained the decision not to extend William Saliba’s loan with Saint-Etienne despite Mikel Arteta stating yesterday that he was open to the player staying at his boyhood club to play in the Coupe de France final in late July.

Saliba’s loan expired at midnight and no agreement was reached between the two clubs much to the frustration of the Ligue 1 club.

Les Verts obviously spent the night stewing over the situation before pinging out a pretty vicious statement this morning which claimed we’d imposed “absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions.”

We’ve responded with a statement of our own: “Throughout our discussions with St 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.

“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.”

To give some context to that penultimate paragraph, Arsenal signed Saliba on a permanent deal last summer in a deal worth up to €30 million. The final €5 million of that agreement was split into two bonus clauses. 

The first, Arsenal must pay Saint-Etienne €2.5 million if we qualify for the Champions League at any point during his current deal.

The second, Arsenal must pay Saint-Etienne €2.5 million if the defender started 1/3 of Saint-Etienne’s matches in the 2019/20. Interestingly, it was Arsenal who insisted on a performance-related clause for this season because we wanted assurances that our new boy would actually get game time to aid his development before he returned to us.

Back in March, it looked a formality that we’d have to pay out on the second clause. Saliba had started 16 games out of 41 – 39% of the total – and needed only one more start to hit the necessary number to cover him for the total 51 games in Saint-Etienne’s schedule.

After imposing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions on the country, the French government soon after curtailed the football season and awarded the title to PSG. Saliba has been stuck on 16 starts ever since and Saint-Etienne, who are in financial trouble, have been agonisingly close to a much-needed cash injection.

When it was confirmed that the Coupe de France final could go ahead, albeit behind-closed-doors, it offered them one final chance. All eyes were on Arsenal to see if we’d let Saliba play.

It seems we were happy for him play in a cup final, but we weren’t going to pay €2.5 million to make it happen. Obviously, Saint-Etienne weren’t best pleased and unable to reach a resolution, we’re now at the point where barbs are being traded across the web. Oh dear.

Saliba will now head off on his holidays and will report for pre-season training at London Colney, whenever that is due to start.

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As much as it would’ve been the right thing to let him play, I back the decision for us to not fork out 2.5m Euros because it would be nice for him to finish off the season. Some might see that as cold hearted, but for once I’m backing us taking a firm stance given our financial troubles we’re now in.


I agree. The fee should be waived in an extension not be made compulsory. Saliba is our player now not theirs. I’d assume Saliba must be really annoyed at Saint Etienne now for being such tight arses


Yes. in fact they wanted to start Saliba in order to qualify for our 2.5mil bonus. You think they were thinking about Saliba and shit? I don’t think so.


It was Arsenal who insisted on the additional bonus of 2.5mil. So it’s essentially Arsenal going back on the deal agreed upon, simply because we have the opportunity to get out of it now due to the affects of the covid situation on the season…


The extra payment of a €2.5million bonus was conditional on Saliba making the required number of appearances DURING HIS LOAN AGREEMENT. He didn’t, therefore it shouldn’t be paid. Arsenal were prepared to agree to an extension of his loan, but without the bonus payment. It is St Etienne that have prevented William from playing in a cup final, NOT Arsenal.


All this talk and yet Ozil’s pocketed £4.5m since he last kicked a ball


The point is that it is only because of the abnormal situation that he is being asked to play the cup final outside of his loan agreement. Yes, the loan agreement is technically done, but I think this is pretty shoddy from us. I’d be pissed off if it was the other way around.


The clause was inserted by arsenal to ensure Salina is played enough for his development. This, St. Etienne has obviously done with the games they had in hand and whatever the injuries allowed. Arsenal basically got out on a technicality. I think it would have been the right thing to give them the money or at least negotiate a lower number.

Drogheda gunner

We’re not a fucking charity. We need the money have you seen the shite we’ve being signing lately?


It’s not just finish off the season. It’s for a player to play a cup final and potentially win a cup with his boyhood club. When we talk about player morale, club culture, feel good factor….the stuff that has historically made this a special club, we’ve made the wrong decision. I think Arsenal we’re not prepared to pay a penny, let alone £2.5m. And beyond that, probably tried to make a profit out of it. Fuck the sleazy scumbags that run our football club.


A wonderful experience is also:
To join Arsenal training facilities.
To have a nice vacation to be ready for next season.
To prepare with the rest of the team and develop relationships in pitch and off with the rest of the squad.

I agree with your last sentence tho’ 😉


Exactly, Saliba did much of his rehabilitation from injury at Arsenal’s training facilities, then we sent him back to them fit enough to play and star in their cup run.


As they say in Scotland, get tae fuck! His contract is done with St. Etienne. If they want to to extend his contract so he can play in the final then fine by me. However, if they want us to pay a penny for it given his contract is *already done*, regardless of the terms of his initial contract, they are living in cloud cuckoo land. If any club in the world gave them any fraction of the money, they’d be considered to have been very much a “soft touch”, which despite the poor way the club has been run… Read more »


spot on!


Very apt comment.

Drogheda gunner

100 percent mate


Maybe his first club but he was born jn Northern France so the sentimental link you mention maybe nothing more than supposition.


I’m sure Saliba can play the final if the extension excludes an extra fee. Why would Arsenal pay 2.5m to risk our player before next season?


Just go and find another club to support if that’s your attitude. So many people complain when Arsenal waste money but when they actually try to save much needed finances and protect OUR player then suddenly they’re “sleazy scumbags” Grow up!

Drogheda gunner

His morale will be a lot worse when neymer and mbappe both score a hatrick on them

Cultured Determination

yup. i’d rather give the 2.5m to saka or auba to sign da thing.


You’re 100% correct!

The God factor

SE sense of entitlement is out of this world, they do not have a case, they should be blaming the French football federation who hastily ended the season, possible make a case against the FFF,
Arsenal is 100 percent right, u don’t dictate for the person giving u a favor, the striking point is that, the loan had an end date, specifically, not just the end of the season, if it was end of season, they would have had a case

Runcorn Gooner

French Mercenaries.



They would be mercenaries if they had the upper hand in any part of this. Unfortunately for them, they very much do not and have resorted to chancing their arm to get a much needed financial injection. They failed.

Artetas Assistant

St Etienne come across to me as a really Entitled bunch


The word you’re looking for is ‘french’


Well if Mustafi isn’t disposed of soon, then we’ll cop at least half of that final payment, because there is no way we’re qualifying for the Champions League with Mustafi still at large.



Michael Bolton Wanderers

They want the player and the money. Jeez Louise. Seems like they’re ruining relations with arsenal and possibly saliba in hopes of getting some extra cash.


I will cheer them on against PSG because they are underdogs but it’s clear they are no Saints

Artetas Assistant

Not cheering them, too much entitlement in their ranks. They probably think Billionaire Stan should ‘just’ bring out 3Million pounds from his spare cash and hand them. Fuckers

Artetas Assistant

For 90 minutes when our player could get injured after playing an entire season for the FREE OF CHARGE(??)




Please correct if I am wrong: we owed them €2.5m if he played more than 16 matches within June 30, but now that the loan is over Arsenal owe ASSE nothing.
If so, I think we did the right thing and stood by *our* player more than anytging


The fact that they’re unwilling to use their own player for a bonus game, a final no less, for free should put it on them that this all fell apart. Who wins here?

Now I don’t see st Etienne doing business with us in the future.

Vaibhav Pandey

Businesses are done by agents and money. If you flash money they will come running!! There are NO enemies in business only friend is cash.

Artetas Assistant

Absolutely , a top centre back FREE OF CHARGE


I don’t think Saint Etienne would close the door on Arsenal. If they see money they will come as shown by their behavior


This is how I’m reading it, the 2.5m for more than 16 matches agreement ended with the loan contract on the 30th of June. Seems like Saint Etienne are suggesting that this is an extension of the existing agreement and are expecting 2.5m if he plays another game.
It seems like even letting him play this extra game for free (unless we are demanding money?) is a nice goodwill gesture by Arsenal, we don’t benefit from it unless the experience of winning a trophy will improve the player.


Yes that’s how I understand it as well, he’s our player now but we’ve said you can have him for the final as a gesture of goodwill, but you have to take care of him. Whether that means they’re liable for injuries and other fees I don’t know.


“we don’t benefit from it unless the experience of winning a trophy will improve the player.” Exactly, but we have the risk that he injures himself in that game. So in my opinion the offer to let the player participate without any more payments from us was already very generous. I am happy how Arsenal negotiated in that case. Also don’t forget who the opponents are, so the chance for the player to actually lift a trophy are probably 20 % or less. I could also imagine that Puel is actually happy about this, because if Saliba had been sent… Read more »

Artetas Assistant

The cunts were willing to leverage their players heart desire against Arsenal, after he’s served them so well and earned them 30million. So we pay 2.5million for a cup final experience against a team he’s met a million times, poor negotiations by them and i bet Raul refused to pick the call for the last two hours when it was clear they were just entitled fuckers. Even our understandably much maligned board honourably let Nacho return home to follow his dreams

Forty nine'

Sorry, we’re broke.



Artetas Assistant





Someone at St Etienne clearly values money over the chance to beat PSG in a cup final.

Saliba and his coach Claude Puel must be fuming at their management for messing up their cup final preparations.

Artetas Assistant

I imagine they held out on their petulant demands for so long and Raul decided not to take their calls when they finally called (two hours to deadline of window )



Artetas Assistant

Highly likely


Fuck ’em, then. Sounds like Saint-Etienne wanted to have their cake and eat it. By having a hissy fit over the money (which they weren’t getting either way), they’ve gone and robbed themselves of a CB for the final and Saliba’s chance to play in it.

The fact they wanted us to do them a favour and extend the loan and hand them €2.5m for the privilege beggars belief, really.

Artetas Assistant

They’re good at that cake act: Kourt Zouma and now Saliba played an extra season for them (good for player development but we’ve considered using Zac Medley in defence )

Mentally Drained Gooner

This means no more transfers from Saint-Etienne for us


And? How many transfers have we had from most clubs? 1 fewer isn’t going to change anything. And if the owner goes, so does any lingering antipathy, usually. Money makes deals, not how nice the other side perceives you to be.

Gooney Tunes

100% behind the Club here. We seemed to be prepared to act in good faith and work out an adapted deal, and it just seems like ASSE want their cake and to eat it.

Feel sorry for Saliba missing a Cup Final with his boyhood club but I’d protect my 20m+ investment too, if I were Arsenal.

James Lee

Dear St Etienne
Fuck you very much

The Frog

As much as we like to criticise the board (and they give us enough reasons), this one is on Saint-Etienne. They could have decided if they want the player to play in the final or not, as we apparently were willing to find an agreement under reasonable conditions. Asking us to pay 2,5 Mil for the “privilege” to risk our player’s health is however simply stupid and was rightly called out as such.

Tommy Gunner

Particularly in light of the fact the club pressured our players to take a pay cut (still the only EPL club to have done so). Paying another club £2.5m when it is us doing said club a favour, would not have looked good on us


What a dirty club we’ve become. RIP to the Arsenal that did things the right way and who had strong values and morals. This is The Kroenke Shit Show led by the sleazy Sanlehi and the goldfish Vinai.


By the right way you mean paying another club £2.5m so they could field our player without following our medical guidelines in their biggest match of the year?

Vaibhav Pandey

Did you really understand what happened here? It is not about being sleazy it is about being right and avoid the exploitation. SE wanted us to give the player with extended term with them and cash too (for which timeline ended on 30th June) which was a little too much imo.


That’s what happens in a witch-hunt…
Raul or Edu or Vinai even get the blame for St Etienne being greedy


Pitch forks and flaming torches for sale here…..


Yeah? You’ve a customer. I’d set fire to Kroenke’s tash and toupee and stick the pitch fork right up his bank vault.

Artetas Assistant

Well said buddy


Of course we shouldn’tpay the £2.5m. But SSE want the player, the player wants to play – find a middle ground. Let them cover his wages and let them have the player for the extended period without either party taking advantage of the other.   The fact that Mikel publicly states that the player should stay with them and enjoy this experience – then less than 12 hours later his board make him look like a mug…..this is unacceptable. Poor poor business – on the same day we released Mikhi.   Imagine Real Madrid did that with Ceballos, Arsenal fans… Read more »


From everything I’ve read, we did exactly as you are suggesting. We agreed to extend the loan, so that ASSE get a decent centre back for their cup final and so that William can sign off in a cup final with his boyhood team. However, Arsenal didn’t want to pay for doing this favour. If you think this stance is unreasonable, can I arrange to borrow £100 off you, just with the condition that you pay it back yourself?

Drogheda gunner

Dude have you read the article. Lol


What planet are you living on?


Heh. Someone else who has absolutely no idea of what The Arsenal Way was and sadly no longer exists.


Top post, I couldn’t agree more. We ought to be called Mister Potter FC, thanks to that penny pinching toupee wearing tash twitching Yank.

Drogheda gunner

Get over yourself


St Etienne misread the leverage there. I think there would be a lot of dissatisfaction from Gooners if we actually went along with what St Etienne wanted, paying 2.5m to risk injury and complicate Saliba’s pre-season. Hopefully he sees our point though


Feel sorry for Saliba but business is business


Getcha Kroenke Wigs here, folks.


In all this, it’s the lad who suffers most. Imagine, at 19 years of age, having a chance to play in a cup final taken away from you for non footballing reasons. How shit.
It sounds as though St Etienne are being particularly difficult, and their ‘it’s all Arsenal’s fault’ statement did little to persuade me otherwise, but a pity that something couldn’t be worked out for the player.


I’m sure he’ll get over it when he gets his first pay cheque next season. Tough but the right decision by Arsenal. He’s got many more great cup finals to play.


Hope you’re right about the cup finals (in an Arsenal shirt specifically) but don’t share your cynicism that a big wad of cash makes everything better ? I still hold out hope that the primary motivator for most players isn’t money. Agents, on the other hand…


I think they somehow felt entitled to use him, because they see the cup final still as part of the campaign that they loaned Saliba for. So not only did they think they could use him without any additional conditions imposed by The Arsenal, but they also felt that still playing him one more time should trigger the clause.   Morally, they were probably right, so they released an angry statement. But in my opinion it still doesn’t reflect well on them. Legally, it seems, the player had to return to The Arsenal in case we wanted that and I… Read more »


Sorry but 2.5m is a lot of money especially in the current climate and that impacts jobs at Arsenal. Not the players, but I imagine that would cover a fair chunk of the money that could go to non playing staff salaries.

Pete Plum

Did we support the suspension of football during April when 900 people a day were snuffing it? Then forget the deadline and pay them the effin money


Compromise – we will loan them David Luiz

In all seriousness, what if Saliba were to get a major injury in the final?

Arsenal are simply protecting their investment

Artetas Assistant

They’ll be doing the Maupey final whistle smirk behind our backs while we do the petulant Guendouzi stomp

Cygans Parting

This all feels very grubby indeed. Let’s hope that young William doesn’t have bad feelings regarding playing for us having come through his boyhood club and then being unable to represent them in the French cup final. I know that Arsenal are short on money but if we can afford to sign Luiz, Soares and Mari then we could have come to some financial arrangement with At Etienne. After all, had lockdown not happened Saliba would have played the games and we would have paid the money without batting an eyelid. Arsenal remain a heavyweight in the footballing world where… Read more »


Why should Arsenal be held financially responsible for how the pandemic has affected French football, and St Etienne specifically?

Cygans Parting

Sorry, to clarify, I’m not saying that I think Arsenal alone should be financially responsible for french football or Saint Etienne specifically. I’m saying in general that all big clubs around Europe particularly should be financially supporting the smaller leagues and teams for the good of the game. For example, today Wigan athletic have called in the receivers. To be a fan of Arsenal is to first be a fan of football. If there are fewer clubs then there will be fewer players to choose from and the quality will drop. It’ll be a race to the bottom. The premier… Read more »

Drogheda gunner

The club is not a charity and if it was, charity begins at home. If that was the case they should be looking after Bury, Bolton of this world. Even spurs lol, there pretty smashed


I suspect Saint Etienne will go to FIFA or UEFA about this. It’s a tricky one, I can understand the arguments from both sides.

Guns Up

What’s tricky? His loan is up, and with it Arsenal’s obligation to St. Ettienne, end of story. Feel for the player if you like (and I very much do), but Arsenal have done nothing wrong and there is nothing complicated about the terms of the deal.


St. Etienne doesn’t have a leg to stand on, and FIFA / UEFA will tell them to bugger off.
A contract is a contract. Arsenal fulfilled their part of that contract.

Cultured Determination

and here i thought it’s usually the club that loans the player pays the loan fee and not the other way around. another Raul mystery, on top of the luiz deal, agent kia deals… latest i heard micky will be leaving for free to Roma when we rejected a $10 mil bid from them earlier… pretty clear it’s #raulout

Gus Caesar

It was an incentive to ensure that Saliba played sufficient games on loan. Part of the compromise that got us him ahead of Sp*rs. Pefectly reasonable business. I’m no fan of the current regime but the lengths that some people go to to twist everything into a bad thing is remarkable really. If he’d have ended up at Sp*rs or spent the season sitting in the stands then they’d also have been slaughtered.   Yes, hopefully there will also be a clear out of the deadwood that’s eating up our wage bill. This is a GOOD thing. It’s clearing up… Read more »

Coquelins 3rd leg

I have a feeling this one gets dragged out through the courts. If the fee was for participation in 1/3 of saint etiennes games played, he met that requirement. I get the feeling that the kid is going to miss a cup final, for ultimately no reason.


Vital piece of information missing from your comment. The fee was for 1/3 of Saint Etienne’s games played DURING THE COURSE OF THE LOAN PERIOD. This expired yesterday, and the condition wasn’t met.

Coquelins 3rd leg

Saint Etienne played 41 games during the loan period, of which he played 16. Now my math isn’t always bang on, but isn’t that more than a third? I guess what I didn’t make clear is that if the contract language wasn’t water tight, there is a possibility we pay this money anyway.
Hands up if you believe the jokers running the club made the contract language water tight …


This is only about the money, and pretty disappointing behavior on Arsenal’s part. or Raul’s part or whoever…

Guns Up

Given our horrible luck with injuries of late, you don’t feel that’s an element of consideration in Arsenal’s stance here?? It absolutely should be, and it seems to me like that’s at least as important to us as the money.


In a lovely world, Saliba would play the final, lift the trophy and then join us for training. Given that we are in the middle of an apocalypse, fuck all that. We need to build a new defence for the future. Assemble Saliba, Chambers and Holding. Whatever it takes.


Given they are playing PSG pigs might fly before young Billy lifted that trophy…

Gus Caesar

Perfectly reasonable behaviour by the club. We’ve lost out financially because of the pandemic – probably more than most other clubs, given how overly-reliant we are on matchday revenue. Only yesterday we lost a player for nothing when his market value 6 months ago was around £10m. I don’t see why we should lose another £2.5m when we don’t need to, no other club would. That’s business, we’re not a charity.   As I read it, we weren’t against us letting them play Saliba in their cup final. I doubt we were actually asking for money in return, just not… Read more »

Kartik Iyer

So let me get this straight. St. Etienne expect us to pay 2.5 million to let our player play in their cup final. How dumb do they think we are? But then again the Mkhitariyan deal….?


I don’t think the club has done anything wrong here.

Kevin Taylor

If this was just about the €2.5m – they could play him. Unacceptable sporting and financial conditions they say, so let’s explore what that might mean. And while doing that, we bear in mind that the fee disgareement isn’t something that would mean St Etienne paying any money. Think about it, the loan contract expired on June 30… we say we will extend it, but will not pay the fee as it is outside the contract. If nothing else was at stake, and St Etienne want to win the cup and want him in their best team, surely they just… Read more »

Tony Z.

This seems a bit petty and short-sighted, and means Saliba is coming in under something of a cloud. Hope it doesn’t bite us in the ass.


Lol. Saint Etieene only wants the 2.5 million euros. It’s completely obvious. The original loan deal is over so it’s a new negotiation. If they really want Saliba to play that match, they’d easily finish negotiations without taking the money. 2.5 million euros for one match is ludicrous. They are a greedy bunch and can fuck right off!


Coming to think of it, it’s them who really need him to play than us then on top of that they want $2.5m … What are they smoking in France


So if it wasn’t for Covid he would have played in the final anyway.

Let him play. We don’t want an unhappy player

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