Arsenal have confirmed they will not be extending William Seliba's loan at Saint-Etienne until the end of the season.
This means Saliba will bot feature for Etienne when the Ligue 1 side plays in the French Cup final. The 19-year-old signed for the Gunners last summer for a fee believed to be around £27m but was immediately loaned back to Etienne, with the deal set to expire at the end of June.
On Tuesday, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta revealed that the defender had 'earned the right' to play in the final but since the north London club has confirmed he will head back to Emirates after an agreement over a short-term loan extension failed.
"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 honoring the terms of the loan," a statement from Arsenal read.
"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 an 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."
The Ligue 1 club also released a statement on Wednesday where it confirmed that the French international would return to Arsenal. They also accused Arsenal of making unacceptable demands during negotiations.
"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 meeting, the English club imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions," it read.
The key in the Arsenal-St Etienne Saliba issue: Arsenal need to pay an extra €2.5m if he starts 17 games in all comps this season. He is on 16. To extend his loan, Arsenal rightly asked that if St Etienne wanted to start him in the final, they cancel the clause. They refused.— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) July 1, 2020