Thomas Vermaelen is on the verge of an Arsenal comeback after a four-month injury layoff, manager Arsene Wenger said.
The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a stress fracture of his lower back in July and subsequently missed the Gunners' preseason preparations.
But the Belgium international has returned to training this week and could even be included in the matchday squad to face Sunderland on Saturday, though he is more likely to feature in the midweek Champions League clash with Marseille.
"Vermaelen is back in full training," confirmed Wenger ahead of his side's trip to the Stadium of Light. "He is very close to being available and he could be in the squad on Saturday. It is more likely to be Wednesday, but there is a possibility he might still travel to Sunderland."
Vermaelen, who captains the Gunners, has made 96 appearances for the North Londoners in the Premier League, scoring 13 goals.