William Saliba ‘has fresh hope of playing in the French Cup final as Arsenal reopen talks with Saint Etienne over deal for £27m defender to take on PSG’
- William Saliba joined Arsenal in a £27m deal last summer but was loaned out
- His loan spell at Saint Etienne expired in June but French Cup final is on July 24
- Saliba hopes a deal for him to play can be reached after initial talks broke down
William Saliba could yet play in the French Cup final after Arsenal reopened talks with Saint Etienne, according to reports.
The 19-year-old defender joined Arsenal in a £27million deal last summer but spent the season back on loan at Saint Etienne – with the deal originally expiring on June 30.
While the Ligue 1 season was ended prematurely in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, the French Cup final will take place on July 24.
William Saliba could play in French Cup final after Arsenal reopened talks with Saint Etienne
Saint Etienne reached the showpiece game and are set to take on PSG in the final.
Despite Saliba’s deal expiring last month, Saint Etienne have been trying to get permission from Arsenal to use him for one more match.
There was an announcement last week that talks had been unsuccessful, with the French club hitting out at Arsenal for their ‘unacceptable sports and financial conditions’.
The youngster was apparently ‘angered’ by Arsenal’s decision – and their refusal to go back on that call – but reports suggest they have since made a U-turn.
The defender joined Arsenal in a £27m move last summer but returned to Saint Etienne on loan
French outlet L’Equipe are reporting that further meetings have been positive, with talks at an advanced stage.
There is now hope that Saliba will return to Saint Etienne before the end of the week.
There were suggestions that Arsenal had refused to pay a €2.5m (£2.26m) bonus owed to Saint Etienne if he played against PSG.
But Sportsmail believes the loan extension deal initially collapsed purely on the French club’s refusal to follow Arsenal’s medical demands.
His side will play in the French Cup final on July 24 but his initial loan did not stretch that far
Saliba has suffered with a foot injury since the turn of the year, a problem that prevented him from playing in a large chunk of Saint Etienne’s matches.
As a result, the Gunners have devised a strict programme for him to follow and wanted Saint Etienne to adhere to the regime.
Arsenal are believed to have been steadfast in insisting St Etienne abide by the plan, terms which were refused, meaning the cost of extending the deal was not formally discussed.
It is believed Saliba wants to play in the final, but Arsenal want to ensure he is fit for the start of next season.