Santi Cazorla set for Arsenal return after 11-month absence

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Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla is ready to return to training for Arsenal after a series of ankle surgeries.

The former Villarreal and Malaga man hasn’t played for The Gunners since October last year, having gone down with an ankle injury that initially led to beliefs of a return within weeks.

11 months later and Santi Cazorla has completed his first running session for Arsenal.

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Santi Cazora made an immediate impact at Arsenal after signing from Malaga in 2012, scoring 12 Premier League goals and appearing in all 38 matches of Arsenal’s league campaign. He played regularly throughout the following two seasons, not quite as prolific but as technical and creative as ever, before an LCL knee injury hampered his 2015/16 season. He managed only eight appearances in the Premier League last term, the last of which came in a 3-2 victory over Swansea in mid-October.

Arsene Wenger left the 77-time capped Spain international out of Arsenal’s Europa League group stage squad, showing little faith in his return to fitness before Christmas.

However, the Arsenal boss was in a positive mood when speaking on the fitness of his creative midfield maestro, foreseeing a return to action sometime in early 2018.

“The flexibility of his ankle looks good, his mobility is good and now it’s back to getting back to full fitness without having any set-backs,” said Arsene Wenger.

“So, it’s very difficult to predict when he will be available again. Not before Christmas, that’s why I didn’t involve him in the Europa League, but overall I hope that after Christmas he will be available again.”

Arsenal’s next Premier League game comes at home to Bournemouth on Saturday, while their UEFA Europa League campaign kicks off the following Thursday against Bundesliga outfit FC Koln.

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