By Harry Sykes
Arsenal are braced for the likely unavailability of Santi Cazorla for their Saturday lunchtime showdown against Manchester United.
The Spanish midfielder has revealed that he has still not returned to full fitness since suffering an achilles problem and could be sidelined for another few weeks until December.
This could Cazorla out of the trip to Old Trafford at the weekend as well as next Wednesday’s Champions League home clash against Paris Saint-Germain and the matches that follow against Bournemouth in the Premier League and Southampton in the League Cup.
“I still don’t know the exact time,” said the 31-year-old to Spanish radio station Cadena COPE, as quoted by Sky Sports.
“I am trying to return as soon as possible to be with the team again, but I cannot say if it will be soon, or if I still have a few weeks left.
“I do not know, but hopefully it will be as soon as possible.”
Cazorla has missed Arsenal’s last five matches since breaking down in their 6-0 Champions League home triumph over Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets on 19 October.
The Gunners have coped well in the absence of the central midfielder, winning three matches and drawing the other two, against Middlesbrough and London rivals Tottenham.
But Cazorla is regarded as a talismanic figure among Arsenal supporters for his ability to control a match in the middle of the pitch and conduct his team’s neat passing patterns.
The midfielder is a first choice player when fully fit, and kept Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny out of the side before he suffered his achilles problem.
In other Arsenal team news, the club’s fans have reacted on Twitter to £50million speculation surrounding one of their key players.