Mesut Ozil
Ozil suffered problem in October but is likely to miss busy festive periodGetty

Mesut Ozil admits he is unlikely to make his Arsenal return until early next year.

The German playmaker has not featured for the Gunners since early October after suffering a partial ligament tear and was initially predicted to be sidelined for 10 weeks.

While Arsenal will have had hopes of seeing their record signing return in time for the hectic festive period in late December, Ozil believes early January is a more realistic return date.

"I have already been out for five weeks and will be out for another seven weeks," Ozil was quoted as saying by the Evening Standard.

"That is a really long time but that is the way it is in football sometimes. My head is held high and we look forward."

The German football association confirmed Ozil's problem shortly after the player joined up with his international teammates ahead of qualifiers against Poland and the Republic of Ireland last month.

But the former Real Madrid star initially suffered the problem in the final game before leaving for international duty, a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

"He had a little problem just before he went out at half-time," Wenger said following confirmation of Ozil's injury. "He had a little pain with his knee, he felt a crack.

"I said to our physio to keep an eye on him and if there was anything wrong with him, tell me because when you are 1-0 down, you want to keep your offensive players on the pitch."

Arsenal's already stretched squad will be pushed to its limit in December. The Gunners will take on Liverpool, Queens Park Rangers, West Ham United and Southampton in the space of 11 days between 21 December and 1 January.

The Gunners could have both Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Debuchy back in the squad for that crucial period however, with both Frenchman making good progress in their recovery from respective leg and ankle injuries.