William Saliba is set to link up with Arsenal in the summer – but Saint-Etienne manager Claude Puel has questioned club bosses for their decision to sell the young defender.
Saliba put pen to paper with the Gunners in July in a £27million deal which saw him immediately head back to France on loan for the season.
Whilst injuries have limited the centre-back to just six appearances this season, he has made a major impact and shown his class.
It has led to ex-Leicester boss Puel labelling him their best player despite being just 18-years-old.
And he branded their decision to sell him to Arsenal before his arrival as “short-term” and “reactionary”.
Using the Saliba transfer as an example to question their business model, Puel told L’Equipe: |It’s done, adopted and I’ve got nothing to say because it helped perform.
“Saint-Etienne have held their rank these past few years. Finishing fourth is a great result. Work was done in the short-term.
“Is this model viable? I don’t think it can make the club a success. Rather than buying a ready-made player, I’d rather we buy him to develop him and help him grow.
“It’s hard to accept that we sell our best player, a young kid, to help fill the coffers.
“When you have to sell your gems to round up the budget and then do short term deals to fill in the gaps, you’re being reactionary.”
Saliba was recently back in London with Arsenal as part of his recovery from a hamstring injury.
He watched on in the away end when his new club travelled to Watford last month and reportedly impressed club chiefs with his physical prowess.
They have some concerns over a groin injury and don’t consider him yet ready for first-team Premier League action, but he is still being tipped for big things when he joins the club with an extra year of French top flight experience under his belt.