Arsenal are back in talks with Saint-Etienne over William Saliba featuring in the Coupe de France final, but the Gunners are holding firm in their stance.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND: William Saliba of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on September 13, 2019. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

L’Equipe (via GFFN) claim Saint-Etienne and Arsenal are back at the negotiating table for William Saliba. Talks are at an advanced stage and the outlet now expect Saliba to return to France before Friday.

The French transfer window temporarily closes on July 9th until 10th August, as FIFA rules state it can’t open for more than 12 weeks straight. So that’s the last chance for Saliba to move back on loan before the final.

Arsenal reopened talks to try and keep Saliba happy, given his disappointment at the prospect of missing out on the game. However, they’re still asking Saint-Etienne to drop the €2.5m bonus payment they’d owe if he starts the final.

The English media have a slightly less optimistic interpretation of the situation. The Evening Standard write that Saliba has an ‘outside chance’ of featuring in the final.

They add that the ball is firmly in Arsenal’s court, as they refuse to entertain any deal unless their demands are met. That means dropping the €2.5m fee, but it also means agreeing to Arsenal’s fitness programme for Saliba.

You’d hope they can find some kind of agreement by Thursday. It’s in the best interests of the player and both clubs if they can. But you empathise with Arsenal’s stance. They have no reason to agree to a deal that leaves them worse off financially and risking Saliba’s future.