Arsene Wenger has dealt a hammer blow to Arsenal fans hoping to see midfielder Santi Cazorla return to action anytime soon by admitting that he is still some way from full fitness.
The 31-year-old was recently sent to visit a specialist in his native Spain in order to help speed up his recovery from an Achilles injury that has kept him out of action for the past month.
But despite the external help from Spain's finest medical staff, Wenger admitted that he has 'given up' on seeing the playmaker back on the pitch anytime in the foreseeable future.
Speaking ahead of his side's Champions League encounter with Paris Saint-Germain, Wenger confessed that the injury is more serious than first feared.
But not only that, Wenger didn't seem to have much idea on the status of Cazorla's fitness, and refused to put a time frame on his recovery.
When asked (via the Mirror) about the chances of seeing Cazorla back playing he replied: “At the moment I’ve given up on that.
“I don’t know how far he is. He looks to me that he’s making progress, but as long as the player is not in full-time training you can’t set targets.
“It’s not a big injury, it’s not one that will harm his future, it’s an inflammation at the back of his Achilles. And with inflammation it’s always hard to tell.
“My gut feelings is two weeks, but after two weeks it takes another two weeks of training to get back to full fitness.”
Cazrola has been resigned to being a bit part player so far this season, making just nine appearances across all competitions, scoring twice.
And while Arsenal are managing fine without him, sitting in third place in the table just three points off leaders Chelsea, his presence in the squad would be most welcome.
But, that said, he would still face a difficult task of breaking back into the side ahead of those currently there, and at his age, there's a chance he'll be playing for his future when he eventually does return.
His last appearance this season came in the 6-0 Champions League victory over Ludogorets on October 19, and since then the Gunners have remained unbeaten in the six games since.
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