Santi Cazorla will not be returning to a football pitch this month and nobody knows when he’ll back, not the Arsenal medics and certainly not the manager.

Speaking to the press on Thursday morning, Arsene Wenger said, “At the moment, he is far [from returning]. It’s not going as quickly as I imagined it, so certainly in January he will not come back.

“It could be a bit longer [than three months from November].

“At the moment I don’t really know, but I just have a schedule that he is not planned at the moment to go outside and run.

“I think once a player goes outside and runs without any problems, you come six weeks. At the moment he has not been out so that’s why I say in January he will certainly not play.”

So how, in the 21st century with all the medical technology at the disposal of the club, can we not have an idea of when Santi will be back conducting things in the middle of the Arsenal pitch?

One word – Achilles.

Laurent Koscielny’s Achilles problems shone some light on what we should have expected from Santi’s ankle. The Achilles’ is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body and it really doesn’t take well to being damaged.

Think of it as a thick rope, made of tiny fibres all uniformly connecting to allow the tendon to do what it needs to. When these [collagen] fibres become damaged the body springs to live, producing new ones to replace them.

But, rather like Alexis Sanchez running around a football pitch, they’re all over the place – more plate of spaghetti than bungy cord.

Sadly for Santi, it’s a case of ‘time heals’ but how much time is impossible to predict. He will be doing strengthening exercises, such as heel dips, but that depends on how well it is healing [no pun intended].

Koscielny’s first Achilles problem kept him out for 46 days and seven games back in the 14/15 season. Santi’s first Achilles’ problem, which he picked up last season, kept him out for 43 days and the same number of games. He’s expected to miss at least 26 games and 129 days [up untill 25 February].

How many more after that is anyone’s guess.