Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla has denied he has suffered a setback in his recovery from knee surgery after manager Arsene Wenger claimed the Spaniard had picked up an achillies problem during recuperation. The 31-year-old has been out since December after going under the knife to correct an external knee ligament problem he picked up against Norwich City.
Cazorla had initially targeted a return within three months, in time for the sharp end of the season. However, Wenger indicated that the player would be unlikely to feature again this campaign after picking up a second problem.
But the former Villarreal and Malaga midfielder has quashed claims made by the Arsenal boss and says he is on course to return on 1 April, in time for the last six weeks of the campaign – which could see the club still fighting on three fronts. "Surprised by the piece of news appeared in press, deadlines are going as planned," he wrote on Twitter. "I will be ready on 1st April."
Despite providing an update regarding his fitness, his return will still come after the second leg of the Champions League last-16 against Barcelona – a game he had originally targeted for a comeback.
Speaking ahead of the Premier League visit of Swansea City, Wenger said: "Santi is not doing too well. He has some Achilles problems that hold him back. His knee is doing well but his Achilles has inflamed a little bit and we have to put him off impact," Wenger said, according to the Evening Standard. "We have to see now how he responds. He had always a little tendonitis on his Achilles and we have to see how he responds to that."
The conflicting news regarding Cazorla came amid an update regarding Jack Wilshere's recovery from a fractured fibula, which has kept him out for the whole season. The England international was understood to have begun training again ahead of a return in mid-March, but Arsenal will be without the player until at least April.
"Jack is doing quite well but has still not been outside yet, running," the Arsenal coach added. "He starts again, I think, this week. He will be three to four weeks [more] out."