By Matt Farr
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has delivered an update on Santi Cazorla’s recovery from injury – and it won’t please Gunners fans.
The midfield maestro played an integral role for the Gunners before he was sidelined with an ankle injury in mid-October, contributing two goals and three assists from 11 appearances in all competitions.
The Spain international was understood to have been making good progress ahead of his return to action, having undergone surgery last month.
He was initially ruled out for up to three months, but Wenger has admitted that he may now miss a further 10 weeks, as he has had to go through a second procedure and is still a way off being able to run.
Wenger told the Sun: “He’s far from starting to run again. He had a little procedure, yes, but we have a meeting with the medical people to see what it was.
“Once you start to go out [running outside] you have to count six weeks’ preparation.
“At the moment he’s not at that level, so let’s hope he can come back in the next three or four weeks on the pitch.”
With Mohamed Elneny on international duty with Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Francis Coquelin joining Cazorla on the injury table, Wenger remains short of midfield options.
Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka are the Gunners’ two remaining options in the centre of the park, but hopes that Cazorla could have been in line for a swift return from injury have been quashed.
19-year-old England youth international Ainsley Maitland-Niles is another possible option for Wenger, but his lack of first-team experience remains a concern as Wenger weighs up his options.
The Gunners have a tough fixture schedule ahead of them in the next few weeks, and are set to travel to Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Southampton next month.
In other Arsenal news, Olivier Giroud has urged this senior man to sign a new deal at the Emirates.