Just when I thought I could stop writing about Stan Kroenke’s crack negotiating team, I find I’m presented with another unexpected gift, this time due to their awkward handling of negotiations between themselves and Saint-Etienne regarding Saliba and this has left Arteta embarrassed.
The French Government decided to cancel the 19/20 season of Ligue 1 because of the pandemic, but the Coupe de France final between Saint-Etienne and Paris Saint-Germain is going to be held on July 24. The French club had hoped to agree on a deal to extend the loan of William Saliba until after the match with Arteta giving the green signal.
Moreover, Mikel Arteta has already gone on record to say that Saliba “he’s earned his right to play that final”.
But, it now seems a deal was impossible with Arsenal looking for financial remuneration if he was injured. Arsenal are also said to have insisted that the defender follows their training schedule and methods, perhaps prompted by the fractured metatarsal injury suffered by Saliba back in November which kept him out of action for three months.
Arteta and the board continue to have differing opinions on football matters and one concludes, it must be like walking on broken glass for the Spaniard. He obviously needs to check on Raul’s thoughts roughly every 15 minutes to gauge if they all have the same script.
It’s a decision that is particularly harsh on the 19-year-old Frenchman, but in truth, it was a loan deal that Arsenal should never have agreed to in the first place when they secured his services for around £27m last summer.
It’s just another illustration of a poorly conceived and executed plan from the North London club and more evidence that they can’t achieve what the club needs. A sobering thought as another transfer window approaches. Arsenal released a statement:
“We know this is a disappointment for William but he understands we are working to protect his long-term interests and those of Arsenal”
That was met with a terse reply from Saint-Etienne which stated:
“AS Saint-Etienne was pleased to learn yesterday (Tuesday) that Mikel Arteta, Arsenal coach, was ready to leave William Saliba at the disposal of the club until the final of the Coupe de France, on July 24.
“William Saliba had been training for several days with Claude Puel’s group and was obviously very enthusiastic about the idea of finishing his course in Green with such a match.
“Alas, 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.”
There’s been no word from the player but he’s hardly going to be thrilled that his new employers have decided that he can’t make one final contribution to his former team and come away with a medal.
It was a dreadful deal from the get-go, with Arsenal in need of urgent defensive options, yet they still agreed to loan back a player that could have made a substantial difference to their season. It’s all so wonderfully Arsenal.