Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has acknowledged Santi Cazorla's latest injury setback is "disastrous" news for both the player and the club, and that he is deeply saddened by the latest developments, according to the Daily Star.
The Spaniard has not played since October 2016, hampered by an injury his boss described as "the worst he'd encountered in his career", with the midfielder himself revealing he narrowly avoided the amputation of his foot - such was the severity of the infection.
His long anticipated return to action has been further delayed, following another operation on the damaged achilles.
While Cazorla remained positive, Wenger admitted the most recent adversity has been a tough pill to swallow, confirming: “That [operation] is for me, the disastrous, sad news of the day. I feel really sorry for Santi.
Delivering his thoughts about the player, he continued: “He is a guy I admire, that we all love here, who came into training every day with a smile because he loved the game so much.
“For him not to be available for us, it is a big blow. But for him, as well, it is something that is difficult to take.
“I hope despite what happened...I don’t know exactly well. I have been informed medically but I have not read any report.”
The Spanish maestro recently divulged the fact that he was forced to have a skin graft from his arm in order to protect his foot, and confirmed a series of operations had taken place.
The playmaker was signed from Malaga in 2012, and has since appeared 180 times for the Gunners, with 29 goals and 45 assists accrued in that time, securing universal admiration from Arsenal supporters.