William Saliba reaction prompted Arsenal U-turn over St Etienne agreement

Arsenal have made a u-turn on their stance that William Saliba would not return to St Etienne for the French Cup Final after witnessing the player's reaction.

Saliba joined the Gunners 12 months ago but was loaned back to Les Verts as part of the deal.

That agreement has now come to an end and he has returned to the Emirates.

But the French season still has one game remaining – the cup final between St Etienne and PSG.

The original agreement between the two clubs meant Saliba would miss out on the showpiece event and Arsenal refused to sanction his return unless the French side paid an additional fee.

They have since cooled and will allow the defender to play one final game for St Etienne after seeing what was described as a "melancholic" reaction, reports L'Equipe.

When asked about the situation on Tuesday night Gunners boss Mikel Arteta did his best to avoid the subject.

He said: "The clubs are dealing with the situation. You know what happened in the last few days, I prefer to stay a little bit away from that.

"Hopefully they can find a good agreement and end the situation in good terms, help the player as well and contribute to have good faith and be positive about the situation."

Arsenal are keen to have Saliba back at the Emirates so that they can begin working with him.

The young defender is seen as a potential problem solver at the back with conceding goals the team's Achilles heel.

Arteta thinks highly of the 19-year-old, although his progress this year has been hampered by injuries.

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