Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that a hard decision will have to be made over the future of Santi Cazorla, who is out of contract in the summer.
The midfielder has endured a 15-month struggle with an Achilles injury and has not played for the Gunners since October 2016. The 33-year-old revealed earlier in the week how he thought about retiring from the game through injury, although he is now targeting a comeback in 2019.
When asked if the Spaniard would be offered a new contract at the club, Wenger admitted that the player would have to prove that he could still play in the Premier League.
“That depends on his medical availability at the top level. we have to assess that until the end of the season - if Santi is fit and available to play, then yes. Of course, we have to see that." He told his pre-match press conference as quoted by Arsenal.com.
“That is why I tell you it is a complicated situation because first of all we love him, second of all he is a great football player but the third situation is that you need to be healthy today to play at the intensity level that is needed in the Premier League. So we have to see if he can absorb that or not."
The Arsenal boss was also unsure on when the midfielder would be available for selection again, but admitted it is not likely he will play before the end of the season.
“I am not informed enough about his medical situation," Wenger said. "I sent him a message two weeks ago and wished him well and hoping to see him soon. he has not come back yet because he has just had surgery.
“The medical people know much better than I do whether he will play again in 2018 before the end of the season. On that front, before the end of the season will be hard for him.”