Arsene Wenger is still hopeful of seeing Santi Cazorla play again this season, despite the Spaniard having to “start from zero”.

Cazorla had to undergo a ninth surgery on an achilles injury that has kept him out since October 2016.

Asked in his pre-BATE Borisov press conference if he had spoken to Cazorla at all, Wenger said he had sent a message, and was told the midfielder had to “start from zero”.

“I sent him a message because he had a new surgery and wished him well,” Wenger said, as reported by the Evening Standard. “He answered ‘look I have to start again, from zero basically’ and it is very sad, honestly.

Santi Cazorla
Santi Cazorla of Arsenal. Picture: Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images

“What he has gone through this guy is unbelievable. We speak about players being happy or not happy, that is a real pain because it is really, really sad but unfortunately he has to start again from zero.

“That means if all goes well he has to wait until he can run and after when he starts to run it will be at least six weeks to come back to training. When he will be able to run again I don’t know.

“I was hopeful of January but after, he had this setback that everybody knows about. I hope so [he’ll play again] but certainly now not before February.”

Cazorla was working hard to come back in January, but that date has now been pushed back to a very optimistic February. It’s a certainly a sad situation he’s in.

Cazorla’s ankle. Photo by Pablo García / MARCA

He revealed to the Spanish press that he had lost eight centre metres of his achilles tendon to an infection, and required skin grafts for the wound to heal properly.

Having gone through several operations, it seemed he was on the road to recovery. Cazorla still has hopes of playing football again despite all the setbacks.

The injury was picked up during a 6-0 win over Ludogorets in the Champions League on October 19th 2016.

What was initially thought to be a two-three week injury has kept him out for over a year and is threatening his playing career.

We can only hope that he’ll recover from this latest setback and take to the pitch again at some point this season.