Already without Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla, it would be handy to have Mikel Arteta around right about now.

Alas, he’s still injured. The Arsenal captain hobbled off with a muscle issue in the defeat to West Brom in November, and was supposed to be back soon.

Two weeks later and Arsène Wenger has admitted he now has no idea when the midfielder could be back in action.

“At the moment on Alexis, Santi and Mikel, we don’t know how long they will be out for,” Wenger said to on Thursday, ruling him out of Saturday’s game against Sunderland.

The midfielder has barely played in the last 13 months, starting just twice and playing a total of 322 minutes in 10 appearances so far this season.

Without him, Mathieu Flamini and Calum Chambers remain the only options for holding midfield, with Aaron Ramsey likely to partner whoever Wenger chooses. The concern surrounding Arteta only strengthens the need to dip into the January transfer market for a midfielder, as Arsenal will be without Coquelin and Cazorla until March.

Could teenage Porto captain Ruben Neves be Arteta’s replacement?