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St Etienne vow to keep star players

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be the only Saint-Etienne player allowed to leave the club this summer, coach Christophe Galtier has been told.

Aubameyang, 23, is reportedly close to joining Bayer Leverkusen after saying he wanted to leave the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

However, Kurt Zouma's proposed switch to Anzhi Makhachkala will not be completed.

"Kurt will not leave. We promised Christophe Galtier, when he signed his [recent, two-year] contract extension, that there would only be one of his first-team regulars leaving," president Bernard Caiazzo told Le Parisien.

Caiazzo's words were reinforced by a statement on the club's official website, which emphasised that the squad that finished fifth in Ligue 1 and picked up the Coupe de la Ligue - Saint-Etienne's first trophy in more than three decades - would not be broken up.

"All the players have a contract to respect. The club's owners, Bernard Caiazzo and Roland Romeyer, have always placed human values above financial matters,” the statement said.

“The club does not have to sell for economic reasons, maintains its sporting ambitions and has a European perspective to its development strategy.

"Consequently, AS Saint-Etienne will not comment on rumours concerning players' movements, which are related by certain media and are, for the most part, untrue."

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