The France international has been plagued by injuries throughout his career and, after requiring another operation, now faces a further six months on the treatment table.
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“He could not even jog yet so with new surgery it is a set back for him so competitive football cannot be played before March.”
Though the 27-year-old has completed 90 minutes just twice since 2011, Wenger appears intent on sticking by the midfielder and played down suggestions he would be offloaded, adding: “He has one and a half years to go on his contract.”
The Gunners have a number of other injury concerns, with Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also out of action, while Yaya Sanogo “could be the earliest one [to return] which could be mid-November.”