Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has conceded that the footballing future of Santi Cazorla is in doubt following his ninth ankle surgery in the last 12 months.
Cazorla, who hasn't played for nearly 14 months because of his injury hell, revealed to fans via Twitter last month that he had needed to go under the surgeon's knife yet again - the Spaniard has already endured a skin graft in an attempt to help the wound on his ankle heal. "But unfortunately he has to start again from zero".
When he was first sidelined previous year, Ben McAleer of WhoScored.com examined how crucial his absence could prove given how important Cazorla was to Arsenal's creativity.
" It is very sad".
It was initially hoped that the Spaniard would be ready for a first-team return for the Gunners in January, but he is back at square one and fighting for his future. "What he has gone through, this guy, is unbelievable", Wenger said.
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Having undergone the procedure on Monday, Cazorla's return date remains a mystery but Wenger optimistically claimed he could be in line for a February comeback should all go to plan.
Wenger added: "If all goes well he has to wait until he starts to run and after he starts to run it takes six weeks to come back to training. When he will be able to start to run again, I don't know".
"I just hope that he will play at some stage this season".
The latest setback increases the chances that Cazorla may never play for Arsenal again, as his contract expires next summer. "But certainly now, not before February".
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