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Wenger casts doubt over whether key man will play again this season
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has cast doubt over whether Santi Cazorla will play again before the end of the season.
Cazorla was initially sidelined for four months after undergoing surgery on a knee ligament injury which he suffered against Norwich City at the end of November.
The midfielder made good progress in his recovery but a proposed comeback last month was postponed after the Spanish international aggravated a long-standing Achilles injury in training.
Santi is now back out on the training pitch running again and is expected to step-up his rehabilitation over the coming week but Wenger has confirmed it will still be a ‘few weeks’ before the 31-year-old will be ready to make his first team return.
That would see Cazorla back in contention towards the end of April, however, Arsene has cast doubt over whether the midfielder will play again this season after saying much will depend on how he responds to the increased workload in training.
As it stands, the boss says Cazorla has a chance to play during the closing stages of the season but that could change depending on how he reacts in training over the coming weeks.
Wenger told Arsenal.com:
Santi has started to run, but is still a few weeks away I think. I hope [he will play again this season] because he has started to run.
We have to always be a bit cautious, because you never know how people will respond to training sessions, but at the moment he looks like he has a chance to be completely fit to respond again before the end of the season, and to be competitive.
Santi has carried this Achilles injury for some time and it looks as though the club are concerned that it will flare up again when he steps-up his training programme.
Even if he does return in late April, Cazorla may only play in our final two or three games before the campaign finishes on April 15th, so he’s not going to have any significant impact for the rest of the season.