Arsene Wenger has insisted that Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby is making strides in his latest recovery attempt and claims he will sit down with the player next month for talks regarding his contract situation.
Diaby, 28, who moved to the Premier League from Auxerre in 2006 and is out of contract this summer, has been plagued by injury over recent years.
This has severely restricted his involvement with Arsenal and led many to question if he will ever be capable of playing on a regular basis again in his career.
After making just one appearance this season during the League Cup defeat to Southampton in September, Diaby has been attempting to get himself into a position where he is able to compete in a Premier League fixture for the first time since the 2012/13 campaign.
However, despite confirming that his compatriot is progressing gradually in training, Wenger conceded that he is not yet in a position to contribute as Arsenal seek to consolidate their place in the top four following a disastrous Champions League performance against AS Monaco on Wednesday.
"Diaby is progressing in training, step-by-step, but he is not in a position to play yet," Wenger told reporters in his press conference prior to Arsenal's clash with Everton.
Many Arsenal fans have understandably long since given up all hope on Diaby putting his injury woe behind him for any significant length of time, yet Wenger confirmed that he plans to discuss his uncertain future in North London soon.
"I will have to talk to him soon (about his contract). I plan to do it in March."
Sadly, it has reached a stage in Diaby's career where it would be hugely surprising if he were to be offered terms to remain at the Emirates Stadium through next year and beyond.
Some form of pay-as-you-play contract, akin to the one former England striker Michael Owen was handed during the final pitstop of his career at Stoke City, could be a viable option, particularly given that Wenger has always discussed his fellow Frenchman in such glowing terms and may be reluctant to give up on the possibility of him playing more than a peripheral role at Arsenal.
Wenger's own position at the club has been further called into question by some this week, with the Gunners facing up to elimination from the Champions League at the last 16 stage for the fifth consecutive season unless they can produce a vintage display at the Stade Louis II on 17 March.