William Saliba returned to the Saint-Etienne squad to face Nimes Olympique on Saturday, after recovering from injury.
As we reported on last week, Saliba underwent testing by Arsenal doctors ahead of his full comeback from injury. He spent a couple of days with the Gunners’ medical staff, with Claude Puel calling the process ‘intense’.
The centre-back then rejoined full training with the Saint-Etienne squad. We learned from journalist Chloe Gallot of Ultimo Diez that he would be ready to play against Nimes on Saturday. As expected, he made the squad for the fixture.
As it turned out, Saliba didn’t get back onto the pitch. The club are clearly trying to ease him in, so it was just a spot on the bench this time. Saint-Etienne scraped a win in rollercoaster fashion, finishing the match 2-1 after VAR cancelled late goals for both teams.
The fact he’s fit enough to be in the squad is good news though. Saint-Etienne have lots of fixtures coming up for a potential return to the pitch.
Next up, they face AS Monaco in the French Cup round of 16 on Tuesday. They then have matches on the following Sunday, Wednesday and Sunday against Metz, Marseille and Montpellier. Marseille and Montpellier are both top-four in Ligue 1 right now.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to find some minutes to ease the Arsenal loanee back in. He played every single minute from his last return from injury until the next setback, so the question is really over whether they give him enough time to rest.