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Raul Sanllehi delivers fresh update on whether William Saliba can play for Arsenal this season



Williams saliba in arsenal shirt

The Arsenal defender is due to return to north London after the rest of the Ligue 1 season was ended



Raul sanllehi talks about William saliba



William Saliba will not be able to play for Arsenal during the remainder of the Premier League season, despite his loan deal with Saint-Etienne expiring.

The Arsenal defender will return to north London earlier than expected after the rest of the Ligue 1 season was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced last week that all remaining fixtures will not be allowed to take place before August.

In a briefing with the press, Philippe confirmed that no sporting events will take place before September.

“The big sporting affairs cannot occur before September. The 2019/20 football season cannot return,” Philippe said.

With football being suspended across France, players on loan at Ligue 1 clubs will return earlier than expected to their parent clubs.

This includes Saliba, who remained at Saint-Etienne on a season-long loan deal after completing a move to Arsenal last summer.

Arsenal are currently awaiting the resumption of the Premier League season, with all professional football in England suspended since the middle of March.

There is no set date on when it will return as the country continues to battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, but reports have suggested the top flight is targeting a June return, with games to be played behind closed doors.

This initially excited supporters of the prospect of seeing Saliba make his Arsenal debut in the current season, as he is only a registered Saint-Etienne player until June 30.

However, understands the teenage defender will not be able to play in any games during the remainder of the campaign, and will only train with his new teammates.

On contracts ending on June 30, essentially clubs will be allowed to extend short term to cover the reminder of the season. There is no value of players going to other clubs as they will not be able to play. Loans will be similar. Sailba for example cannot play this season for us.

And speaking on a video call during a fans forum on Wednesday evening, Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi and chief executive Vinai Venkatesham addressed the issue of player contracts during the pandemic.

According to the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, the Gunners chiefs told fans that clubs will be able to extend the contracts of players whose deals end on June 30, to cover the rest of the season.

But it was also confirmed that the club will not loan any players out as they cannot play any games for their new clubs – using Saliba as an example.

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