Friday, July 19, 2024

Puel: Saliba to miss out on Coupe de France final

Arsenal and Saint-Etienne have failed to reach an agreement that would allow William Saliba to play in the Coupe de France final against Paris Saint Germain on 24th July.

A decision on the situation was due to have been made last week but for whatever reason, no announcement was made by either club.

Today, speaking at a press conference Saint-Etienne head coach Claude Puel confirmed the 19-year-old centre-back will not feature.

As you’ll recall, the Gunners were open to Saliba extending his loan arrangement so that he could play the delayed final on the proviso that Saint-Etienne agreed to our terms.

The Ligue 1 side didn’t much like them, releasing a statement on 1 July decrying the ‘absolutely unacceptable sporting and financial conditions’.

Arsenal reportedly asked Saint-Etienne to release Saliba for regular medical check-ups in London and requested that Les Verts forego a €2.5m bonus payment that would be due if the centre-back started the game.

An angry retort from Arsenal seemed to draw a line under the matter but with the player desperate to help his childhood side win silverware, all parties returned to negotiations in the hope of finding a solution.

Just four days ago, Saint Etienne boss Claude Puel was holding out for good news. It’s not gone his way. Saliba, who presumably has been training alone for a couple of weeks, will now return to London to start his Arsenal adventure.

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I can’t believe that we didn’t work this out for him. Doesn’t seem like “the Arsenal way”, whatever that is.

Cultured Determination

Cos we dont have 2.5 mil to spare while helping them win the cup. We need the 2.5 mil to pay for auba’s new contract.


True, we’re not flush with cash but the shocking thing is that the clubs couldn’t find a way to get around that. He wanted to play. Arsenal (at least MA) wanted him to play. Saint-Etienne definitely wanted him to play. I think most supporters wanted him to play. You’d think that wouldn’t be too contentious a starting point from which to find agreement.


Yeah agree – could have reached a compromise, we pay 250,000 or something. Ridiculous. or for gawds sake just let him play for free.

Drogheda Gunner

Why would we pay a club to play are property?


and what if he gets injured


Why would we ever pay any kind of fee for another club to use our player? The contract period expired. He reverts to his now parent club. We’re not a charity. Beyond the first choice back three, obviously.

Rohit Arora

In summary.. we are utilising the Covid pandemic to rob them off 2.5 millions that was agreed as a payment at the beginning of the contract to encourage the club to play Saliba more and help his development. Not sure how anybody can say we are right here. We are clearly trying to play an unfortunate situation to our advantage. This is not what the name The Arsenal always stood for.


I’m not sure how you can believe that to be true. A contract is a contract. Their contract ran out so there’s no clause for a payment, because there is no contract. You think we should write up an extension and include a 2.5m payment for allowing them the pleasure of risking our player for one game. You’re logic is twisted. No reasonable person would still expect the payment from a contract clause that had expired.

A Different George

I don’t think legalisms have much to do with it. Insofar as they do, “a contract is a contract” is not a useful statement when you have no idea what the contract says. Is there a “force majeure” clause (there usually is in commercial contracts)? If so, it is relevant that the French government prevented, by law, the fullfilment of the contract terms. What does the contract say about such a circumstance? I don’t know. Neither do you.


The contract does not say anything about pandemic crisis, meteor fall or other catastrophic disasters.
What it does say is WHEN it is over and HOW MUCH it should be paid in case he reaches number of appearences.


So they can sue Macron. Good luck with that. Not Arsenals problem. We have enough of our own without assuming responsibility for others. There’s a thought. Being responsible for ourselves rather than tying ourselves in knots using sophistic arguments to create ways in which someone else has to be responsible for other people’s issues.


It is pretty easy to guess what the contract said if you look at what actually happened. Arsenal called the player back, Arsenal dictated new conditions under which St. Etienne could possibly still use him (training plan) and Arsenal will not send them the 2.5 million. If, for whatever reason, they saw contractual grounds to a) receive the money or b) feel entitled to play Saliba in the final, they could have already intervened at UEFA and CAS and present such grounds. And at the same time they would have told Saliba to remain in St. Etienne and play the… Read more »

Pete Plum

Theres no honour any more. There used to be, like when we replayed that FA Cup game against Sheffield Utd. Seems those days are gone just like so much of the old Arsenal


Why is it Arsenal’s fault? Why on earth should they pay St Etienne £2.5 million when we are doing them a favour?

Pete Plum

Its not about fault. It seems very obvious to me but I’m willing to change my mind if someone can explain how this is the honourable or classy way to behave, or why thats irrelevant. But this seems like Kroenke values not Arsenal ones. “Doing them a favour” is a way of framing things that ignores the original plan and ignores that we were all in a covid 1st wave.


Do charity with your own money, Covid has cost Arsenal millions, Can Arsenal afford to be Charitable ? If they really wanted him so bad to play to give them a better shot at the title they would play him for that purpose only, obviously that’s not the reason. They want him to play only for the 2.5 mill.


I know, they are the one’s being petty ” if we cannot have him and the money, then we don’t want him at all” touch on, he’s our player as per contract. Tough on the lad though. It’s their fault not ours. What happens if we pay them to play him for one more game and he gets a serious injury, we would be going crazy at the board and management for allowing that to happen and we’d have to buy a new centre back. Its not worth the risk for sentiment. The reality is that football is a business… Read more »


The loan period was for 1 season which has already finished Arsenal were open to the extention but Saliba would have to follow the treatment plan set out by Arsenal this was turned down


If you owned a club would you play another club 2.5 million so that your player can play one match for them? Didn’t think so.


I’m pretty sure, if we follow your argument, that a player will need to extend his contract as most PL players in his situation had to do. So if the clubs can’t come to an agreement, you cannot fault the club who owns the player can you?


They should be paying us!

Ian Petty-Mayor

It’s like if I leave my company to start a new job, I can’t go to the Christmas party.
That’s not how life works.


Why training with The Arsenal and MA for a month is less worth of a cup final?


Nobody is being robbed. It’s a legal agreement which they entered into out if volition not duress. Honestly this victim culture leads to some mind bogglingly crass comments.

Steve Morpurgo

What logic are you utilising to come up with this diatribe? How exactly are we “robbing them”?

They have no contract with us, it expired, so that means, we have no obligations toward them..It’s all very simple, they can have him for the game however we want to perform some medical checks, what’s wrong with that?

They want a payment that was originally in the pre-existing contract but that contract is no longer in force, as it expired, so they want us to pay for him to play?

I think they are at fault here, not us…


Not true bro, Arsenal paid extra contract on luiz, mari, and Cedric. Reasons bcos of the covid 19 cases. Arsenal didn’t take advantage. Contract terms were affected not Arsenal’s doing. If they really wanted him to play they should have removed the 2.5m Euros. So u see


It’s pretty straight forward from a St Etienne point of view; if they want the availability of a player that is no longer under contract to them, they accept the conditions set out by the club holding his registration. I feel sorry for Saliba but the only reason he won’t be playing in the cup final is because St Etienne wanted to have their cake and eat it too. St Etienne screwed him over, not Arsenal.




I’m amazed there couldn’t be a compromise.


They wanted us to pay them 2.5 million to play a game for them – whatever the circumstances that would be sheer lunacy. Letting them borrow one of our players free should have been enough.

I suspect they are fed up with the low price they demanded and concocted this as a compensatory grasp for some imaginary high moral ground.

Granit(e) hard!

I agree absolutely….why should we pay to let our player pay for them, especially given the unique contract circumstances of them earning that fee if we let him play that particular match?…lunacy yeah!. They want to both have their cake and eat it at our expense. The way to fairly earn that bonus is to have fielded him way more than the minimum times stipulated to help his development, not to play the numbers just enough to earn the fee. They got caught out by their own numbers game if you ask me


If the cup final was within the 12 month loan period, then the fee is completely understandable. What makes no sense is why they insisted for the fee to stay with an extension loan deal.

It’s a completely new deal so why would we pay them to take our player for one match. Absolutely stupid


Right, if they wanted a Covid extension, they should’ve hired smart lawyers who would’ve put a “global pandemic clause” in the contract lol


Well, if the game wouldn’t have been moved to July and wouldn’t the season over there have been cancelled, we had to pay the money anyway. So I think there was room for a compromise on our side. Let’s hope it doesn’t harm our relationship with the player before he kicked a ball for us.


Yes I agree with that. But the fact is that the game has been moved and it’s a case of hard luck but you’re not the only team affected by COVID so I agree with our stance.

I doubt Saliba will grudge us that badly. He’ll know himself that these are extraordinary circumstances


Saliba should be grieved at St Etienne, they turned down the chance to play one of their home grown youth stars for FREE, they should have done whatever Arsenal were asking to let him play. Don’t listen to the offended french narrative. They’re to blame.


By the same token the club could have played him one extra game and they would have earned the payment. They didn’t and we’re supposed to take a financial hit because of their choices?


Well, actually they couldn’t. He was injured and shortly after he came back the season was cancelled.


Surely they had one game that they could have brought him on, the season wasn’t canceled as soon as Covid broke out, there was talk of the season being canceled well before it actually was.


they should be going to the French government to be compensated then, listen mate everyone got stung by this pandemic not just poor old st Etienne

High gooner

I dont agree. We actually loaned him out for the season and the season is not finnished yet. The only reason the loan deal expired before the end of this season was because of the pandemic (surely thats something we can all understand and not argue against). Had the pandemic not existed we would have paid them those 2.5m. And a deal is a deal. So respect that. Plus, Saliba himself wants to play this game that will be the biggest of his career so far and help his boyhood club, what a dream ending that would be for him,… Read more »


Except the reality is that COVID happened and changed the game for virtually everyone. We had to agree to an extension with Ceballos for instance which means we have to pay extra for extending his loan. Madrid didn’t just gift us Dani for an extra 2 months. The contract expired and they didn’t play him enough throughout the rest of the season to trigger the payment. There’s no reason we should let them risk him to play in a cup final & pay his wages & a bonus for them to play him.

High gooner

But lets be honest, we all know its not about the injury risk (mostly), its about the 2,5 m. And plus, if you wanna use Ceballos as an example, why would Madrid wanna risk Ceballos getting injured and then not being able to move him? Its pretty much the same situation for every club as you said, so how come we are not granting saliba this once in a lifetime oppurtunity?

Drogheda gunner

Because we paid extra money to keep him.they want money from us for letting are player play for are you not getting this?


we did, they didn’t want him. THEY WANT THE MONEY.

A Different George

In contractual/legal terms, the reason the loan term expired before the end of the season (assuming that is true; I don’t know the wording of the contract), is not the pandemic, but the order of the relevant government to cease playing. Which makes your point much stronger.


Contracts are based on dates not seasons. The date expired and hence the contract. It’s extremely black and white. We agreed to let him extend and play but not under the terms we would pay them 2.5m euros to let him play. That’s not us from keeping him from playing – it’s Arsenal refusing to be taken advantage of.


Many players have got performance oriented benefits along with wages…especially youngsters whose salary is low but they have performance related payments.For eg if they played 20 games in a season,they will be given an additional amount.Due to covid,the league was called off and in such circumstance, will the club pay the additional amount which the player would have been eligible since he would have played the requisite number of games if the league was not called off? I dont think the clubs will be that much generous…


How much is the cup what ? We must be d back up

Pete Plum

Exactly we had a big banner saying we were class at the ch*lsea cup final, what did it mean? I’m assuming most of us understood and even supported the suspension of football during April, so the honourable thing is to pay what we always expected to pay isn’t it?


If he wants so bad to play for St et. Why did he sign for Arsenal? Unless you suggest he was fooled into

High gooner

Allo enow re alani.. st etienne is still his boyhood club! Na se kala trele

Drogheda gunner

Where not a charitable organization.covid hit us too,catch a f#cking grip of yourself man.


eh…we offered them to play him for free, they wouldn’t take it. Can’t imagine many other clubs doing that. By the way, he will play in bigger games for us.


The contract was for a time period, not a season.


Thank you

Perry Crows

You can always count on C.B. to say really dumb stuff

Johnny 4 Hats

Could we loan them big Papa to say sorry? I’m sure he’d enjoy kicking lumps out of Neymar.

Johnny 4 Hats

Totally off subject but just heard the podcast.

Andrew – Yeah, Salvatore Bibbo, the new goalkeeping coach. Er, do we know anything about him?

James – Born on the 24th August 1974 to Ernest and Gillian Bibbo, Salvatore, or Sal to friends, always dreamt of a life of professional football. He excelled at school, achieving solid key stage 3 results before life dealt him a tough card and he was injured in a freak trampolining accident. That didn’t stop Sal, who refused to….


Shame on both clubs. You can’t compromise to give a player a once in a lifetime opportunity? Ridiculous.

Ben EagerBeaver

Two more thumb downs and it’s a compromise of thumbs for you. At least.

Merlin’s Panini

Well let’s hope it’s not once in a lifetime for him, eh. Would be fun if he were able to play in the FA Cup final for us instead.


I know…it’s the French cup, it doesn’t matter. PSG have already bought it.


Disappointing to say the least. Just let the guy play the game. Why does there need to be conditions (especially money ones… I hate that football is all about the money now, and even more that Arsenal are all about the money).


So you want us to pay them to let him play for them?? They could easily have just forgone the additional payment and he could therefore have played. Why would we risk a player getting injured in a match for a team to whom he no longer belongs, and have to pay them 2.5m euro for the privilege? Saint Etienne have screwed him and themselves.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Wonder if in one of the other stories about us having no money and likely not being able to invest in the transfer window whether you would have piped up. Business is business regardless of how we feel, this made zero financial sense.


Please remember he was not kidnapped when he signed for arsenal.


That’s right, because Arsenal operates in a vacuum, insulated from real world events. Not only that, we have a magic money tree which we pluck seasonally in order to create goodwill throughout the world.
oh no, that’s Citeh.

Pat Rice and Beans

AFC is right.
First and foremost the club concerns. There’s no sense in paying 2,5M EUR or not being able fully assess the health status of a 30M asset before risking to it to an injury.

(sorry to consider an human being as asset, but sometimes is necessary to look under a rational/economic POV)


Won’t hear a bad word against our club on this one. St Etienne were essentially asking for a favour, they should have just said sure, whatever you need to us. End of story. Instead they try to put pressure on us by going public – feel for the lad, but this is on their door. We gave them then conditions of what we needed, they did not want to meet them.

A Gorilla

I think Arsenal have acted in the wrong here. If this was within the time limits of a normal season we would not have a say in the matter, but because of covid we throw our contractual weight around. Bully mentality from a (currently) mid-table club. A bit of grace and sportsmanship would have been good for all involved here


So you expect Arsenal to allow Saint-Etienne to play our player as well as paying them €2.5m?

Are you for real?

Boom! SakaLaca

I respectfully disagree. Arsenal agreed to let him play (conditionally) but it makes no sense to have to pay €2.5m for something that will not benefit us. We would’ve paid the money if the pandemic hadn’t happened…but it did, and the club have to deal with things as they are. The onus was on St Etienne to meet us halfway instead of making demands about OUR player


But COVID has affected all of football. Why should we bend over backwards for a situation that has affected every team in football? Because we owe them a favour for letting us buy Saliba?

We did offer them sportsmanship by letting them have Saliba for the final if they took out the fee. They chose money over silverware. We had no moral obligation to give them money due to these circumstances

Dave cee

What’s weird is that now St Etienne get neither the money or the player for the final. You’d think they’d just accept having the player


Our players didn’t accept wage cuts for this bs. It’s totally on St Étienne!


Those who comment that paying St Etienne 2.5 mil for one match are missing the point. This bonus was agreed upon in the original loan contract and was in fact insisted upon by Arsenal to encourage St Etienne to play Saliba more. The bonus was to kick in after a certain number of games in which Saliba features and the cup final would have triggered it. Blogs explained all this in a previous article. St Etienne’s refusal to allow the medical checkups is ridiculous though. I think Arsenal messed this up and it could come back to bite us.


For me the contract was concluded and expired at the end of the season.

So if St Etienne still need to use the player after the contract expired, they should enter into new negotiation with Arsenal.


Yeah, but it wasn’t concluded.


You’re right the season ended abruptly, however Saliba’s contract has a time frame which didn’t foresee the pandemic.

I think the clubs should renegotiate a satisfactory contract that suits both.


So they should have played him one extra game while the season was on. Why is it our fault that they didn’t? The contract that included a 2.5m payment clause has expired has it not? Would you expect a pay out on an expired contract? No reasonable person would.

A Different George

It actually sounded, from the podcast explanation, that Arsenal were insisting that Saliba travel to London at least twice for medical examinations, including in the week before the match. It sounded pretty unreasonable. I don’t know the real story, but it is not all clear that Arsenal are in the right.


He wouldn’t have been travelling by mule on some medieval pilgrimage path, staying at iffy inns, prey to foot pads and the risk of the clap. These days there are great silver birds which can transport you from St Etienne to London in an hour and a half.


Absolutely not the point! Wouldn’t it have been reasonable to conduct the medical tests in France, so as not to impact their preparations for the final?

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

St Etienne DIDN’T play him more. Covid-19 or not it’s their fault they hadn’t played him enough times early in the season. They knew he was an important player for them this season, they asked to keep him, after all, but then they didn’t utilise him properly when they had the chance. They made their 2.5 million error early in the season, and now that they’ve made the Cup Final they they thought they’d make a last ditch try for the cash they had already blown when Football France called time on the league season. Contracts are written in legalese… Read more »

Drogheda Gunner

Absulute cabbage


But they didn’t play him more. Not our problem.

David C

PSG is going to kill them anyway…it’s the silly French league.

Gerry Roads

I understand the desire to save but this clause was our insistence to ensure he got playing time. If the season had not been cut short we would have paid it. Seems a poor way to kick off his Arsenal career.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

They Failed to give him enough playing time. They had more than half a bloody season in league and cup games to give him the games they were going to be paid a bonus for. Two and a half Million??? I’d have played him every damn game from the start to make sure I got the money. They failed. Not us.


To be fair they played him when he was fit, he had a few injuries and the French season was called off, I find it strange that there wasn’t a compromise but we will never know what really went on.


If everything that has come out is true, this is all on St Etienne, not Arsenal. Fuck em.


Whether he played or not didn’t really effect Arsenal as it is it was St Etienne who asked Arsenal for a favour to play him in the final, but it seems that St Etienne were actually more interested in the £2.5m than if Saliba played? C’est la vie.


A no class move by Arsenal.

The money argument is ludicrous.

We get walked on in the transfer market on the reg., but then the genius suits decide to poison the well for one of our prayed for quality CBs. Over a few million pounds.

Last year’s turnover is what, 390M pounds? The dispute was 2.5M?

That’s 2.5M is 0.64% of last year’s turnover. And the owner is worth over $10B.

This is a fucking fiasco.


Why don’t you pay the 2.5million then?

Jeremy DG

I’m sorry mate but would you give away nearly 1% of your annual turnover in the middle of a pandemic when money is already tight enough and you are operating at a loss, and you have no legal obligation to do so? Especially we you are trying to do both parties a favour (again, under no obligation to do so)? If the answer to this question is yes, I hope you are never in charge of your own business…for your own sake.


You may not have noticed, but this years turnover might not, for some reason, be so high. Oh and turnover is irrelevant. Turnover for vanity, profit for sanity. Maybe this old adage only makes sense when you run a business.


We have paid a fortune for players on loan like Soares & Ceballos. Saint-Etienne are trying to get us to pay them 2.5m euros to loan them our player. They think souring our relationship with the player might also be a good tactic.

Can you imagine the pelters our club would get for wasting that much money right now.


The notion of having to pay them 2.5 Million Euros so that he can play for them seems utterly insane to me. I’m sorry but that’s just madness and I’m glad Arsenal refused to tolerate it. And honestly guys St. Etienne have been absolutely terrible this season save for a short run just after Puel took over – they really don’t stand a chance against PSG either way.


The problem here is all with St Etienne. He is an Arsenal Player, we have every right to put in place fitness tests, I think we are forgetting he has had injuries this season. Saliba, get to the Emirates and be under wing of Freddie & Arteta and this mess will soon be forgotten. I think media just love a negative story about Arsenal at present.


A shame for the kid that the clubs couldn’t reach an agreement on this.


If we let him play, paid St. Etienne 2.5 million quid on top of it, and then he does a cruciate, would the folks here saying we’re the big bad Arsenal say it was the right decision? It’s absolutely ridiculous that anyone would think we should have given St. Etienne an Arsenal player for a game and paid them 2.5 million to boot. If St. Etienne is so greedy that they won’t take an Arsenal player for a game for free – they need to be paid 2.5 million quid to play him – they can fuck right off. Hopefully… Read more »

Pete Plum

We were willing to take that risk before the pandemic


Under the contract we signed of our own volition. Which has now expired. Is this really so hard to grasp?

Merlin’s Panini

Feel bad for Saliba but Saint Etienne should know how contracts work. Covid came to bite them in the arse with this and it’s unfortunate but doesn’t make sense for us to pay them to play him when the contract is finished.
I’m sure he’ll be gutted but Arsenal are entitled to do what they’ve done here. It’s not a charity.
I would have liked to see him allowed to play with no further exchange of money but a clause that if he were to get injured they pay us.

Eduar-do a deer

Don’t think anyone cares what you say or think

Merlin’s Panini



Whatever, just bring him back into fold. Arteta will have to start to drill next season’s centre backs and best he builds it now on the younger options. Mari due back after Sept. Holding not as solid as many prefer to imagine him to be but has good frame and should be our future Saliba considering price paid. Thereafter one of Chambers (to be assessed or Mustafi)…depending who gets a better offer in market. And then Luiz I suppose retained just in case Mari has complications. That gives us a core of 4 +1 to work with. AND frankly considering… Read more »


It’s funny how some folks say we are classless because we refused to budge on the 2.5 mill clause. FFS if their league was not suspended, we would have paid that money. Everyone was affected by the pandemic so it isn’t our fault if we can’t come to an agreement on a new ‘contract’ that enables Saliba to play.
Also, funny how folks complain about not getting investments from the owner and in the same breath insist that we give out money we absolutely don’t have to in these circumstances.


I need more arsenal friends…


The payment part is a joke but besides that, if he broke his leg in that game all of us would be blaming Arsenal management. He’s going on (hopefully) to bigger and better things and has got to be a grown up about it but if he wants to blame anyone, blame the St. Etienne.


If he wanted it that bad.. he couldve paid 2 mill?


Well that’s Salibas chance of winning silverware in the foreseeable future gone then.

Salibas Uncle

They dont want Saliba to play. They want the money. If they have him they will play him for 5 minutes to make the money. We dont have the money. We have some injuries in our defence so why risk one more and pay for it and risk going back in the market for replacement. Take Arsenal terms or take a walk if you really want Saliba to play for his childood club.

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