The future of Santi Cazorla's season, and possibly his Arsenal career, hang in a precarious balance today after rumblings surfaced that the midfielder has been told that he needs surgery on his Achilles tendon in order to correct the injury he suffered during the 6-0 Champions League victory at Ludogorets in October.
Arsene Wenger refused to set a hard timeline on Cazorla's return following yesterday's defeat to Southampton in the EFL Cup, saying "...I don't know, honestly. It's just inflammation. It can go in two days, two weeks — I don't know. He has no setback, the inflammation is just still here. At the moment, it's stable." However there might be more to the story than what Wenger was letting on.
If Cazorla truly needs surgery, it will no doubt rule him out for the rest of this season and beyond. He will turn 32 in a couple weeks, which means the soonest he will be available for selection could be when he's about to turn 33. Any future plans for the midfield involving Cazorla, then, would be harmful to the club's aspirations. Further, a layoff of this length also brings into question the midfield depth and what the club would do were it to lose Aaron Ramsey or Granit Xhaka - two midfielders who could best replicate the sort of play Cazorla offers when healthy.
In either case, surgery or not, we'll keep you posted when we hear more on what could be a very crucial decision.