William Saliba is back with Saint-Etienne for the Coupe de France final and a farewell to his teammates, before ‘discovering another world’ with Arsenal.
After joining up with Arsenal for training this week, William Saliba confirms he’s returning to his home country for the Coupe de France final tonight.
Speaking to L’Equipe (via GFFN), Saliba said he doesn’t want to miss the chance to watch the game in person, even if he can’t play in it. Arsenal and Saint-Etienne failed to reach an agreement to extend their loan deal for the match, but the defender still wants the chance to say goodbye in person.
“I couldn’t miss this,” Saliba said. “As I am not able to play, I want to at least feel this final as much as possible, by supporting my team in the stadium. In front of the TV, it would not be the same.
“It was important for me to be there, hoping to see Les Verts win. It will also allow me to say goodbye to my teammates properly.”
The Coupe de France final takes place tonight (Friday) at 20:10 BST. It’s at the Stade de France and English viewers can watch it live on BT Sport. Let’s hope Saint-Etienne can pull off a shock result and Saliba can celebrate with his old teammates.
The 19-year-old made 17 appearances this season, in a campaign disrupted by a couple of injuries and the French season ending early. All the same, he made a strong impression when he was available.
Saliba on Arsenal
After the final, Saliba will finally complete his move to North London. He can’t feature in Arsenal’s final two games of the season, but he’ll be ready and waiting for the 2020/21 campaign to begin.
“I fell for Arsenal from the start,” Saliba told L’Equipe. “A number of French players have been there. Arsenal has not been at the top of its game for the last three, four years. But, like St Étienne, its badge, its history and its fans made me want it.
“I have a crush on Arsenal. What it gives off speaks to me. I had no hesitation. I am discovering another world.”