William Saliba sends emotional farewell message to Saint-Etienne before joining Arsenal

William Saliba will join up with Mikel Arteta's squad imminently
William Saliba will join up with Mikel Arteta’s squad imminently (Picture: Getty)

William Saliba has promised his adoring Saint-Etienne fans that his ‘heart will always be green’ as he prepares to finally embark on his Arsenal career.

The teenage centre-half signed for the Gunners last season but was loaned back to his boyhood club for the entirety of the 2019/20 campaign.

Saliba had hoped to make one final appearance for Les Vert’s in next weekend’s French Cup final against Paris Saint-Germain but a compromise between the two clubs could not be reached.

Saint-Etienne claimed Arsenal had been guilty of ‘imposing absolutely unacceptable sports and financial conditions’ but the Gunners responded with a strongly worded statement of their own, claiming the Ligue 1 club had been unwilling to let Saliba follow a specially designed fitness programme.

Either way, Saliba is understood to have been left hugely frustated with a decision which has prevented him from competing in what would have been the biggest match of his fledgling career.

Bidding farewell to the club at which he has earned a reputation as one of the most highly-rated young defenders in European football, he wrote: ‘It is time for me to say goodbye to you with great emotion and sadness, and above all to thank you, the Greens, for all these wonderful years that I spent from my arrival at the training center to the professional world.

‘I want to thank all the coaches that I have had, who have made me progress and grow as a player and as a man. I would also like to thank all the club staff who work for our well-being on a daily basis.

‘And of course I thank from the bottom of my heart all the wonderful supporters who have always believed in me.

‘Finally, I would like to thank all my teammates with whom I was able to learn and share wonderful moments. I’m going to miss this beautiful cauldron that I’m not about to forget. Saint-Etienne is my city and I will always have a Green Heart.’

MORE: Saint-Etienne confirm Arsenal’s William Saliba won’t play in French Cup final

MORE: Mikel Arteta reacts to rumours Arsenal have done U-turn over William Saliba’s participation in the Coupe de France final

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