Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta is back in full training after recovering from the ankle injury that has ruled him out of action since January.
The Gunners captain will not be in contention to feature in Saturday's Premier League clash against West Ham United at the Emirates, but is expected to make his playing return by the start of April.
Arteta underwent surgery to remove a bony spur which had been causing him inflammation and discomfort since the back end of last year, but has now completed his rehabilitation with a view to returning to 100 per cent match fitness in around two weeks time.
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The 32-year-old has less than six months to run on his existing Arsenal contract, but Arsene Wenger confirmed in Friday's pre-match press conference at London Colney that he plans to offer the veteran a one-year extension.
"Normally I would like him to stay on, yes," the Frenchman was quoted saying by the Daily Mail. "He has a huge experience and is very important in the squad."
Wenger's comments will come as a relief to the former Everton man - whose last appearance came against Manchester United at the start of 2015 - particularly in light of the recent rise of fellow midfielder Francis Coquelin, who has filled in admirably for the Spaniard during his absence.
With competition for places in the middle of the park arguably stronger than ever, Arteta's role in the side will probably be marginalised over the course of the next campaign, but like the Arsenal boss said his experience will be invaluable in helping through the next crop of emerging young stars in north London.
Arsenal fans: Are you pleased to see Mikel Arteta back fit and nearly ready for action? Is Arsene Wenger right to offer him a new contract? Have your say below!