Cazorla reveals comeback plans as he sets sights on return within weeks

By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes

Santi Cazorla has revealed he is targeting Arsenal’s Champions League second-leg trip to Barcelona for his first-team comeback.

The Spaniard is stepping up his recovery after being sidelined with knee ligament damage for nearly three months.

Cazorla will miss the first leg of the clash against the Spanish giants on Tuesday nights but hopes to be involved in the return match in his homeland.

“I am eager to return,” he told Spanish radio station Onda Cero. “It is a pain to be on the sidelines and not have the chance to help your team, especially when there is a game like the one against Barcelona that everyone wants to play in.

“[Playing in the second leg against Barcelona] is the goal that I have. The knee is fine.

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“I am working better every day. The aim is to set to return [against Barca] but I’m not obsessed myself. I have to go day by day.”

He has begun running outdoors with Gunners fitness coach Tony Colbert and is ready to begin high intensity work.

Red alert: Cazorla is hoping to return to first-team action within weeks

An Arsenal source has told Football Insider that Cazorla could make an appearance for the club’s Under-21s as an over-age player against Wolves on 29 February.

The senior team then play in the north London derby against Spurs at White Hart Lane and then host West Brom in the Premier League, followed by the trip to Camp Nou.

Speaking before the Leicester match about Cazorla and fellow long-term absentee Jack Wilshere, Wenger said: “They are back running, they are on a fitness programme now so it means it is not a question of months anymore, it is a question of weeks for them to be back. I can’t count on them in the next three or four weeks but everybody else yes [I will count on them].”