Saint-Etienne released a statement on Tuesday to confirm that whilst they reached an agreement to loan William Saliba this season, it wasn’t in time.

William Saliba on his friendly debut against MK Dons (Photo via David Price on Twitter)
William Saliba on his friendly debut against MK Dons (Photo via David Price on Twitter)

Writing on their club website, Saint-Etienne reported that their attempts to sign William Saliba on loan were unsuccessful.

There was certainly a hint of bitterness in the statement. They wrote that they agreed a deal “long before the transfer window closed” before adding that it was administrative conditions “in England” which held it back. The full statement is as follows:

“Long before the transfer window closed, AS Saint-√Čtienne had reached an agreement with William Saliba and accepted Arsenal’s offer for a one-season loan.

“Unfortunately, all the administrative conditions could not be met in time, in England, for the finalisation of the file. The disappointment is great for ASSE and William Saliba, particularly determined to return to the club where he had flourished.”

It certainly is a shame for Saliba, assuming Arsenal don’t plan to use him regularly. Playing every week back in France would surely have been better for his development.

At the same time, the player can view it as a challenge. If he can fight hard and make it into the Arsenal squad for the upcoming Europa League and League Cup matches, he can establish himself under Mikel Arteta.

He may not play as regularly, but he’ll work alongside his Arsenal teammates every day. He’ll face up against Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in training, and learn from Arteta directly.

For now, the transfer breakdown is a disappointment, but Saliba can still make this a very positive season.