Arsene Wenger says Arsenal will make a decision about Santi Cazorla's future at the club come January.
The experienced midfielder's contract at the Emirates Stadium is due to expire at the end of the season and he has been heavily linked with a move to Atletico Madrid in recent months.
Arsenal have an option to extend his stay at the club, though, and Wenger is adamant the 31-year-old's injury problems do not play a role in deciding whether Cazorla will stay, with the Spaniard expected to be sidelined until February with an ankle problem.
"Santi has six months left on his contract, but we have an option [to renew]," Wenger told reporters.
"We can take this option, but I would like to speak with Santi about it before making any announcements. I have not discussed it with him yet. A decision will be made in January.
"It is not down to his fitness. It is my decision only. Santi is an exceptional player.
"The dressing room needs a balance between experience and youth-team players and you need to be guided by some experienced players when you go through difficult times. They help you always to keep your feet on the ground and keep focused."