by Lewis Ambrose

Last week saw Arsenal confirm that captain Mikel Arteta has extended his contract.

The central midfielder hasn’t played since November but confirmed that both Arsène Wenger and Ivan Gazidis were keen for him to sign a new deal. Arteta himself was reluctant if he could not prove his fitness, but now feels he is physically capable of getting on the pitch again.

Now, on Thursday, the Daily Mail are claiming that the midfielder is capable of taking part in training sessions but remains unavailable for match selection.

Pictures from Singapore have shown Arteta training with the side, but he didn’t play in Wednesday’s win over Singapore Select XI with Arsène Wenger using Mathieu Flamini in Francis Coquelin in the middle of the park. A number of youngsters, including midfielders Gedion Zelalem and Dan Crowley, were on the bench as Wenger was limited to six subs but looked to give the teenagers a chance.

The Arsenal manager said after Wednesday’s game that all nine players who didn’t feature in Wednesday’s win will be involved on Saturday, as Arsenal face Everton in the Barclays Asia Trophy final.

Now it is clearly Wenger hasn’t specified who will play, or for how long, but he said that all nine players will be involved. Arteta – who is still valuable in the dressing room if he can’t play – is one of those nine players and the Arsenal manager has said that he will be involved.

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Make of that what you will, but maybe the injury concerns are overstated.