Saint-Etienne have publicly slammed Arsenal after they set out their terms for William Saliba’s loan deal.
The young centre-back returned to his boyhood club last summer on loan after signing for the Gunners for £27m.
The Ligue 1 season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, while the Premier League played on.
The terms of the restart England do not allow Saliba to play for Arsenal until the start of the 2020/21 season.
Saint-Etienne were keen to keep the teenager on their books in order for him to play in the French Cup final later this month against PSG.
Saliba has made 16 appearances this season, one shy of the 17 that activates a clause where Arsenal will have to pay £2m.
And it appears the Gunners are reluctant to let him start in the final game as they will be liable to a hefty payout, despite recent comments from Mikel Arteta which suggested he could stay for the final game.
The news hasn’t gone down well in France, with a club statement declaring: "William Saliba had been training for several days with Claude Puel's group and was obviously very enthusiastic about the idea of finishing his course in Green with such a match.
"Alas, ASSE, which simply wanted the extension of the initial loan until July 24, could not find an agreement in the evening with Arsenal to allow the defender to properly prepare and play this meeting, the English club imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions."
Arsenal have responded with a statement of their own, which read: “Throughout our discussions with St Etienne, our aim has been to protect the welfare of William Saliba as well as the interests of Arsenal Football Club, while honouring the terms of the loan.
"Despite the loan ending on June 30, we were willing to find a way for William to play in the [French] cup final on July 24, despite having no contractual obligation to do so.
"As William is returning from injury, we asked that St Etienne follow a clear training plan with William in close collaboration with us, to ensure he is fully fit for the start of next season.
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"To our surprise we were unable to reach agreement to this plan which was proposed by our medical experts, and we are simply not prepared to risk the welfare of an Arsenal player.
"While it was not our primary concern, and ultimately not relevant as our training plan was not accepted, we also expected not to be financially disadvantaged by extending the loan. This was also not acceptable to St Etienne.
"We know this is a disappointment for William but he understands we are working to protect his long-term interests and those of Arsenal.”