With his contract set to expire in five months, Santi Cazorla is still optimistic he can play his way back into the reckoning at Arsenal.
The Spanish midfielder hasn’t played since 2016 due to a chronic Achilles tendon injury that has involved no less than ten separate surgeries, gangrene, discussion about possible amputation and a major skin graft that has left him with part of his forearm tattoo knitted into the back of his leg.
Despite having been repeatedly put through the wringer over the past 18 months, Cazorla seemed cautiously optimistic about his chances of making a full return to active duty in 2019 during a catch-up with RTVE (via the Independent):
There have been moments when I’ve thought about throwing in the towel. I’ve thought things like ‘maybe it is not worth continuing’,” the Spain international told RTVE.
If things go well, maybe next year I can play at the top level again.
The last surgery was seven weeks ago, and my tenth in total. The first surgery was risky because I took many corticosteroids and the skin deteriorated.
Then a skin graft was proposed and after that, the infection ate my tendon.
With Cazorla currently back home in Spain recuperating, Arsenal have yet to offer a contract extension.
That said, Arsene Wenger is refusing to give up on his man and has today hinted that a new deal may still viable if the 33-year-old can overcome his tendon issues and prove his fitness again:
He was expected to be back in (the squad) now. He had a new surgery. I am not informed about his medical situation.
I wished him well about two weeks ago but he hasn’t come back yet. Medical people know better than I do if he will play again in 2018.
It will be hard for him. We love him and he is a great footballer but you need to be right to play at the intensity of the Premier League.
Honestly, a seamless return to Premier League football seems incredibly unlikely now, but there can’t be a soul alive out there who isn’t willing Cazorla to beat the mounting odds.
Fingers crossed for a miracle.