Opinion: Are Arsenal wrong to block Saliba from cup final?

Arsenal and St Etienne are at loggerheads currently over a deal to allow William Saliba to return to his former club to play in the final of the Coupe de France.

The defender joined our club last summer in a deal which included a season-long loan with his former club, but that has now been completed.

The French league was cut short in March following the Coronavirus pandemic, with Paris Saint-Germain crowned champions despite playing only 27 of the 38 fixtures.

The French Cup is scheduled to be completed now though, with July 24 scheduled in for the tie, and William Saliba is believed to be keen to play his part for St Etienne, in hope of helping his side win their first trophy in seven years.

Arsenal are said to have asked his former club to waive the €2.5 Million bonus that they would be due for his participation in the final, as well as making training demands for their new acquisition, but the Saints have so far turned down the deal.

Talks can still take place, but the deal will need to be sorted out by next Thursday according to L’Equipe if he is to be registered to play in the final, but are Arsenal wrong to make such demands?

No club is believed to have profited from the Coronavirus pandemic, and finances of our club are believed to have taken quite a hit with a loss in matchday income amongst the biggest issues.

St Etienne could argue that Arsenal should pay the bonus for his role played in helping them reach the final, which should have already taken place, and may be angered by the stance taken by the club.

On the other hand, why would our side literally pay the bonus and allow their player to participate in the final when he could be in-and-around our current squad preparing for the new season, or resting ahead of the new campaign.

I can understand both perspectives, and the player himself will most likely be keen to try and win his first piece of silverware since stepping up to the senior side, but while morally St Etienne may have a point, reality says that it would make no sense for Arsenal to pay that fee for Saliba to play in the match-up.

Are Arsenal right to ask for the fee to be waived? Would it aid Saliba’s development by playing in the final?


Tags William Saliba


  1. It’s only one game, so it would have no impact on Saliba’s development. At the very least, I would imagine he would be very annoyed to miss a cup final, and that wouldn’t be the best start for Arsenal career, if his new club were at fault for his absence.

    I hope that common sense will prevail, but then again, Arsenal don’t do common sense!

  2. They should be paying us €2.5m 😂😂
    I don’t have a problem with him playing – can’t see them beating PSG though – I just hope to god he doesn’t pick up an injury!! We’ve waited so long to see him in the red and white of Arsenal, i don’t want to have to wait any longer!!

    1. Very similar to your post Sue, writing it as you were writing yours. As they say, great minds think alike

    2. Very true Sue, im confused as to why we should be paying them for an appearance bonus for appearing for them. He is our player, they should be paying us.

    3. Well said, Sue. I don’t think St. Ettienne realized we were doing them a courtesy. For them to demand payment is absurd. What they fail to realise is that he is on loan from Arsenal, and he is not their player anymore.

  3. What if he got injured and was out for the season. Of course Arsenal are right, this is not Sunday football

  4. He had a bad injury before Christmas and arsenal want him back for fitness reasons. Our player, our call.

  5. Farce. Arsenal are asking anyone to waive anything. The contract is OVER. Finished. SE failed to play him enough times in their 28 league and 6 cup matches for the play bonus.

    They asked for an extension to play him in a cup final; no contractual obligation to do so so its a simple – yes we dont mind or no, we do mind.

    If its Yes ok, but you have to stick to a medical schedule the player would have done normally by now then its SE sitting on their own grenade by saying No. He is NOT their player anymore – so they cant say no. As for expecting a bonus from a now defunct contract to be payed out – Why The F would Arsenal do that??

    Crazy frenchies – they have just denied themselves the opportunity to play their best defender in their biggest game in years – for a money grabbing €2.5 Mill that had expired. As in no longer available. As in NOT THEIRS.

  6. I fully understand Arsenal’s decision. First off St Etienne should stop being greedy and waive the right for that extra compensation. They are not entitled to it at this very moment according to the original agreement, and Arsenal cannot be faulted for him not reaching 17 games.
    So St Etienne is asking for him to be allowed to play in the final, yet demanding a €2.5 million bonus if he does. That’s just crazy.

    Besides it’s Arsenal’s player and they have a right to be concerned about potential injuries, especially since St Etienne could care less. After this one game he is gone, and it doesn’t matter to St Etienne at all if he is injured. St Etienne’s refusal to follow a specific training regiment in the event he got to stay just underlines very clearly that they could care less.

    If I was in charge there was no way in hell he’d get to play the final after this disgusting, greedy behaviour on behalf of St Etienne. I feel sorry for Saliba, but St Etienne is way out of line here.

  7. We wanted him last season and they did not budge. Forced us to send him back on loan. Now it is our turn to play hardball. Will they pay us if he got injured and missed a few months next season

  8. All they have to do is waive the £2.5m and he plays in the final along with fitness tests for us leading up to it.

    Up to them! I’m siding with Arsenal on this one, only bad side William is going to be fuming with Arsenal board before he has even kicked a ball for us.

    He looks a good player too, last thing we want is him being a complainer then pushing for a move away.

    1. 👍 I too am concerned about upsetting Saliba before he has kicked a ball for Arsenal, by denying him the chance to play in a cup final for St Ettienne. However at the very least Saliba has to have high insurance cover paid for by St Ettienne to protect Arsenal in case of injury.

  9. We don’t know all the facts but based on what is being reported, St Etienne are behaving like a bunch of muppets. Should be grateful that Arsenal are happy for him to play as knowing our luck he’ll tear his left ACL and break every metatarsal bone in his right foot. For us to pay 2.5m for the privilege? They’re having a laugh. Feel bad for the lad though.

  10. I also feel that Arsenal are in the right on this but I can understand his disappointment,however, if he must play then they should at least have the grace to waive the 2.5m as Bellend BoB said it’s not Arsenals fault they didn’t get the 17 games in the contract period,grow up St Etienne,if you want him to play waive the fee.

  11. Am I wrong ?I understood that as of 1st July,he became an Arsenal player. Therefore,if StE want him ,they should pay a fee and abide by any provisos that Arsenal require !!
    Absolutely incredible that StE are trying to make Arsenal appear the “baddies” !
    I do feel very sorry for Saliba though.

  12. No true old school older Gooner would even entertain asking the rather pointless question that this article does . And why? Because we are not snowflakes and do not go around worrying about the mental happiness and contentment of a player who is now ours but still loaned back to his old club. We would , as I ALWAYS DO, put the needs of AFC way, way, way above those of ANY player. Which is the right thing to do as we are Arsenal supporters , NOT Saliba, Ozil, Joe Bloggs or any other MERE player supporters.

    We pay AFC money to watch them and have Sky, BT etc to watch our TEAM. This snowflake attitude on behalf of a player yet to start in our colours irritates me beyond belief. But it would, since I am an Arsenal Football Club fan and supporter for over 60 years. AND UNTIL ABOUT A YEAR AGO I HAD NEVER EVEN HEARD OF WILLIAM SALIBA. Nuff said! Our clubs call and our clubs choice . As it always should be to Gooners. I do wonder if some who call themselves GOONERS really concern themselves most about the team OR such and such a player.

  13. Arsenal are not blocking here, it’s a matter of agreement. All they’re trying to do is protect/insure their own player from long-term injury (considering he’s had some in the recent past).

    Though, I still think there’ll be further negotiations on this and a possibility that he’ll be allowed to participate in the cup final but any medical or injury issues must be at the loan club’s expense.

  14. The fee had nothing to do with it, SE refused to conform to Arsenals required training regime to protect him from further injury.

  15. It would have been great for Salba to play in the final but I see no common sense in allowing your player to help another team in a final match and also pay that team €2.5 million. That would be utter waste.
    They’ve benefited enough from our player and since they decided to disrespect the laid down training program detailed them by Arsenal, I think that should be the end of the deal.
    Imagine the situation where Saliba unfortunately sustains an injury in that match and be sidelined on a long term.

  16. Well done The Arsenal, first of all, for considering the player’s point of view and, secondly, standing up to the ridiculous demands of his old club.

    At last, some authority being shown at our club and I support them 100 %.

  17. sue did you watch the Spurs game, I laugh when that clown Micheal Oliver waved that no goal, I feel like rolling in the ground.

      1. Sue I don’t really care how we end this season but I really want us to be top them on the table, they think getting Mourhino will guarantee them trophy😁😁😁😁 bunch of losers.

        1. 👍I’d love that too! Put them back in their place – been too long since it last happened!!
          With regards to Maureen – well we tried telling them… in between fits of laughter…. they’re well suited!! 😜

        1. This game is kinda making our effort in Manchester look like a masterclass we would have been level at the break had it not been for Luiz 😂😂 haha yeah defo a KO one way or another 🤣 absolute top quality Sue 👌 could my prediction of Liverpool losing more than once come true tonight? 😉

          1. Bloody hell, Kev.. VAR and the officials have helped them all bleedin’ season,
            now they’ve won it.. nada!
            Why couldn’t City have played like this more often??!!

          2. Well Sue 4-0 I think I speak for everyone when I say Liverpool should give Man City a guard of honour after this game 😛

          3. Damn VAR Sue 😂 could have been much better 😛 well I was right I told you they’d lose more than once 😉

          4. Kinda talking the result down we got panned for losing 3-0 and down to 10 men for almost full second half 🙄 I don’t remember us losing 4-0 in 04 after winning league oh wait we didn’t lose at all 😛 haha yeah great night Sue, Totts and Pool hammered 👌

          5. I hope you have the Watford game recorded too ? 😉 Ospina has been stretchered off a few times in his career he has no luck ☹️

          6. Haha I knew you would Sue 😉😛 the second best LB in the league had a mare tonight he’s no KT 😉

  18. I cant believe how man city and liverpool are on another planet as compared to the other teams. Ofcourse pool is getting hammered but these 2 teams play such dynamic and aggressive football.

  19. Here’s another comparison :

    The excuse being made is that it is so hard to keep motivated once the Premier league has been won – klopp and Liverpool can do nothing wrong.

    The INVINCIBLES won the premiership with four games left to play and we remained unbeaten, because we were and still are The Arsenal – but the media just cannot admit that simple fact.

    A humiliation may be on the line, if not already.

    1. The media will make an excuse for Liverpool, just like they did when they lost against Watford. “Oh we’re not worried about being Invincible, we’re glad that’s out of the way now and can concentrate on winning the League”. The media agreed with that statement saying “Liverpool weren’t worried about Invincibility”

      1. Yeah they just did Kenny! Liverpool lost because they know the league has been won and probably had one too many beers! We were a laughing stock because we got beat 3-0 with 10 men.. the media certainly have they’re favourites.

        1. City were really revved up and Foden’s goal and the build up was superb
          Spurs losing and Chelsea before… the season is showing interesting twists and turns … the Wolves game is so important

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