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.
The 32-year-old Spain international has not played since October of last year when a knee ligament injury afforded him the chance to rectify an ankle issue he had been nursing for the previous weeks and months.
Little did he know that he would face a nightmare of infections, skin grafts and necrosis of his Achilles tendon, leaving him in limbo over just when, or if, he will return to action.
Now, following his ninth trip to the operating theatre, the Arsenal boss has given an update on his midfielder’s future.
Reported by the Evening Standard, the Frenchman paints a bleak picture.
“I sent him a message because he had a new surgery and wished him well.
“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.”
Having been hopeful of a return to training early in the new year, Cazorla’s ninth surgery revealed that the progress he has made over the last few months has now been destroyed and he must start his rehabilitation from the start once more.
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Now, with no real end in sight for the Spaniard’s toils, fans must be growing increasingly fearful that their once captain will be unable to return at all.