Santi Cazorla
Cazorla picked up a knee problem against Norwich last season that wrecked his campaign Getty Images


  • 31-year-old midfielder missed five months of last season through injury.
  • Giroud, Koscielny, Ramsey and Ozil among those still on holiday.

Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla is likely to miss the start of the season as he continues to work back towards full match fitness.

Cazorla, 31, missed the second half of the 2015-16 season after suffering a serious knee injury, a spell on the sidelines that also saw him overlooked for selection for Spain's ill-fated Euro 2016 campaign.

While he returned to training at the beginning of July, the former Villarreal and Malaga midfielder was omitted from match-day squads in Arsenal's opening pre-season games against Lens and MLS All-Stars, playing in the first-half of the 3-1 win over Guadalajara on Sunday.

Wenger is already without some of his key players for the club's opening league game of the season against Liverpool after a summer of international commitments, and admits Cazorla now also looks likely to join that list.

"At the moment he is not completely there on the fitness front," Wenger said, according to ESPN. "That is why I took him off at half-time. He is a bit behind the others physically but I think he will be alright; maybe not on 15 August, but at the end of August he should be alright."

Wenger has already granted four important members of his first team an extended holiday following their international commitments, meaning the quartet are unlikely to be match fit for the season opener against Jurgen Klopp's side.

French duo Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny are unlikely to return to training until a week before the start of the campaign.

Both players represented their country in the European Championship final against Portugal on 10 July, which ended in heartbreak for Les Blues after an extra-time winner handed Portugal their first major international honour. Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil also had lengthy international campaigns, reaching the semi-final stage of Euro 2016 with Wales and Germany respectively.

"You consider the rest time because France had a long, long go and I believe that they need four weeks' holiday because they need to recover from that," Wenger said.

"It takes you two or three weeks to regenerate... to recover completely, and they need to come back with hunger. That disappointment to lose a final, it takes some time to recover from that."