Santi Cazorla revealed last week that he’d been forced to undergo his 9th operation since last October as he attempts to come back from what was ‘simply’ an Achilles tendon problem.
However a post-surgery infection has caused untold damage, requiring skin grafts and follow-up operations, and his return to an Arsenal shirt seems as far away as ever.
Initially it had been thought he could get back to full training in January, but this latest setback has pushed that later into 2018, if it happens at all.
Speaking about the Spaniard’s situation, Arsene Wenger spoke of his sadness to see such a wonderful player affected so badly.
“I sent him a message because he had a new surgery and wished him well,” he said.
“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.”
When asked if he would ever play again, Wenger finished, “I hope so but certainly now not before February.”