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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta reveals his position on William Saliba who plays in the French Cup final

Arsenal has granted Saint-Etienne permission to field William Saliba (Photo: Getty)

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal head coach, says that William Saliba “earned the right” to play for Saint-Etienne in his Coupe de France final against Paris Saint-Germain next month.

Saliba, 19, joined Arsenal in a move of £ 27 million last summer, but was immediately loaned to Saint-Etienne for the 2019/20 campaign to aid its development and ensure smooth playing time.

However, the impact of the coronavirus crisis on French football means that there has been uncertainty as to whether the central defender will be able to show up in the all-important 24 July cup final.

Mikel Arteta leads the Arsenal training session

Arteta is happy to have Saliba play in the Coupe de France final (Picture: Getty)

Saliba’s temporary deal expires today and the head of Saint-Etienne, Claude Puel, last week asked the Gunners to extend their deal.

“William is at the end of the contract at the end of the month,” manager Saint-Etienne said at the press conference last Wednesday.

‘He has a lot of fun training with his team.

“We’ll see what can be done to keep him a little longer with us.”

AS Saint-Étienne - Stade Reims - Ligue 1

The defender has struggled with injuries in Saint-Etienne this season (Photo: Getty)

On Tuesday, during his press conference, Arteta underlined his desire to have Saint-Etienne lined up for the French Under 20 national team in the cup final.

“I think he should stay there,” said Arteta.

“We have an agreement with Saint-Étienne and he has earned the right to play the final one.”

Puel has been desperate for an extension for the teenager as Saint-Etienne’s clash with PSG represents their last chance to qualify for the next Europa League season.

Arteta is reluctant to put too much pressure on Saliba given her age and claims to have been in contact with the center throughout the season.

“I’ve talked to him a few times,” added the Spanish.

‘We followed his season, he had a difficult season with injuries.

“I know how high expectations are for him next season, but we have to keep his age in mind.”

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