L’Équipe report that Arsenal and St Étienne have returned for talks about French youth international central defender William Saliba playing for the Ligue 1 club in the Coupe de France final on 24th July.
Talks are now at a very advanced stage despite conversations hitting a wall leading up to the 30th June, when Saliba’s initial loan expired, because Arsenal refused to pay a €2.5m bonus that they are due to pay Les Verts as part of the original transfer agreement from summer 2019 if he starts in the cup final (hitting the 17 matches started criteria to activate the €2.5m bonus) and owing to what ASSE viewed as unreasonable fitness testing demands that would have taken the player back to London for over 10 days this month.
Both clubs blamed each other for the talks falling through, in talks that were particularly lively in the final hours of last month.
In recent hours talks have picked up again and it is now expected that Saliba will return to St Étienne before Friday when this transfer window in France experiences its first closure of the summer.
Arsenal have opened this door following the player expressing his severe disappointment upon his return to London that he was in a position where he would miss out on this enormous match.
In exchange, St Étienne are being asked to drop their demand for Arsenal to hand them the €2.5m bonus they would be due if he plays in the final.