A report this evening in L’Equipe states that negotiations between Arsenal and Saint-Etienne have started again over the William Saliba’s availability for the French Cup Final.
Last week, the two clubs engaged in online tit for tat, with the Ligue 1 outfit expressing dismay at what they called ‘absolutely unacceptable sporting and financial conditions’.
That led to the Gunners releasing a statement of their own, in which they insisted they’d tried to find an accord, but expressed surprise at the unwillingness of Saint-Etienne to agree to their conditions regarding the player’s fitness.
Saliba is now officially an Arsenal player, his loan spell with his former club expired on June 20th, but the complication arises from the fact they play PSG in the French Cup Final on July 24th, a game they want the defender for.
Crucially, it’s a game the 19 year himself is desperate to play in, with the report saying he was unhappy at the idea of missing such an historic occasion with the club he started his professional career with – a perfectly understandable stance for a young footballer.
It’s said that ‘against all odds’ discussions have resumed between the clubs to try and find an agreement which will allow Saliba to feature in the cup final, and a positive outcome is expected.
Saint-Etienne will have to forgo the £2.5m they would have been due had he played 17 games during his loan spell, but that seems to be acceptable to them to have the player for the biggest game of their season.
There are also fitness and injury concerns, but it sounds as if the two clubs will work together to manage those.
Let’s see what happens, but what a nice way it would be for Saliba to leave – helping his club do in the despicable PSG in a final. Go on William!