By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Mikel Arteta is closing in on an Arsenal return ahead of the north London derby on Saturday.
The midfielder was pictured taking part in training on Friday with the senior squad and could be a surprise inclusion in Arsene Wenger’s squad for the must-win clash against Tottenham.
Arteta has made just two starts for the Gunners this season, and only 13 appearances in total, predominantly due to a chronic calf condition that is likely to prompt his retirement at the end of the campaign.
Arteta could join the coaching staff of his former Barcelona colleague and incoming Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola in the summer but Wenger still puts a value on the 33-year-old’s nous and experience.
Arteta has begun preparing for his post-playing days by starting to take his coaching badges at Arsenal and works with the club’s academy during his increasingly frequent absences from the first team.
As revealed by Football Insider, Arteta is batting a chronic calf problem that is struggling to heal, and is ready to hang up his boots in the summer.
In other Arsenal injury news, Petr Cech has been ruled out for up to a month with a calf injury sustained in Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat to Swansea.