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Arsene Wenger has admitted he cannot be sure that Santi Cazorla will ever return to play for Arsenal.
The Spanish midfielder underwent a ninth operation on an ankle injury last week and after reports that he might have been close to making a return to football after over 14 months of recovery, Cazorla confirmed he has to now “start again”.
The Gunners boss had previously stated he hoped the former Villareal playmaker could come return to the squad in January but the latest setback has him questioning whether he will ever be able to play again.
“I sent him a message because he had a new surgery and wished him well,” Wenger said ahead of Arsenal's final game against BATE Borisov at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday, 7 December, which is live on eir Sport 2 [kick off 8.05pm].
“He answered ‘look I have to start again, from zero basically’ and it is very sad, honestly. What he has gone through this guy is unbelievable. We speak about players being happy or not happy, that is a real pain because it is really, really sad but unfortunately he has to start again from zero.
“That means if all goes well he has to wait until he can run and after when he starts to run it will be at least six weeks to come back to training. When he will be able to run again I don’t know.
“I was hopeful of January but after, he had this setback that everybody knows about.
“I hope so [that Cazorla will play again]. But certainly not before February.”
Southampton take on Arsenal in the Premier League at St Mary's on Sunday, 10 December, a match which is live on BT Sport 1 on the eir Sport pack [kick off 12 noon].
Image: Getty/Laurence Griffiths
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