If you’re anything like me, you’ll have grown up watching Santi Cazorla in an Arsenal shirt and realise just how football is supposed to be played.
The midfield maestro has missed a total of 54 games for the Gunners and suffered multiple setbacks since injuring his ankle against Ludogrets nearly a year ago.
But in his latest update on the 32-year-old, Arsene Wenger has revealed when we’ll be likely to see him back on a football pitch to see out his final season at the club.
After signing a one-year extension earlier this year, Cazorla is now set to play for the reserves over the Christmas period before targeting a January first-team return.
The club’s medical team will take every necessary step whilst ensuring his return date isn’t rushed, making it a special send off to end the season, and possibly his career, in Arsenal colours.
Cazorla has posted regular updates on social media over the last few weeks in an attempt to shed a positive light on his rehabilitation, but Wenger doesn’t want fans to get too excited:
It won’t be before Christmas (when asked about Cazorla’s return date).
The first signs are positive, but still he has not played for one and a half years. He is not in full training yet, he needs a few games with the reserve team, so I think if all goes well, it will be after Christmas.
The best thing about this comeback is that Wenger isn’t desperate to have Cazorla back at his disposal purely because of the amount of back-up’s he currently has.
We have an ability to play a different starting XI in the Premier League and Europa League, meaning fringe players and younger talent all get a look in.
Cazorla’s presence in an Arsenal dressing room is definitely missed but not having to rely on him being in the squad has helped tailor players like Ramsey and Xhaka.
Jack Wilshere isn’t far away from challenging week in, week out so the perfect scenario to come out of this is Cazorla taking things extra steady over the festive period.