Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla won't be ready to return to action in January having been forced to undergo a new surgery on his achilles tendon.
The 32-year-old midfielder has been out of action since being forced off during the 6-0 win over Ludogorets in the Champions League on 19 October in 2016.
The former Villarreal and Malaga star was originally expected to return to action in a matter of days but on 1 December IBTimes UK revealed that the Arsenal star required a surgery because the recovery was not going as expected.
Cazorla went under the knife days later, with Arsenal ruling him out for between two and three months.
However, the Spaniard has been unable play since then after suffering a number of setbacks in his recovery.
Cazorla was set to be out of contract last summer but Arsene Wenger opted to activate an option to renew his deal for one more season with hopes to have him available in the second part of the current campaign.
Earlier this month, Cazorla opened up during an interview with Marca on his fight to play again after undergoing eight different operations.
The Spaniard revealed that he almost lost his foot due to a dangerous infection but insisted that was still on course to return to action by January.
However, Cazorla has now revealed that he will need some more time to recover having suffered a new setback.
"Due to some niggles in the tendon that have been dragging during the last few days, I have had to go through the operating room again. I will have to delay the return date, I keep the enthusiasm and motivation to enjoy again my great passion: football."
Cazorla's latest setback could force manager Arsene Wenger to go into the market to find a new playmaker once the transfer window reopens in January.
Arsenal have vastly missed his creativity during the Spaniard's absence and the situation could get even worse if the Gunners fails to convince contract rebel Mesut Ozil to stay.
Earlier this week, Wenger said that the Gunners plan to keep both him and Alexis Sanchez until the end of the season following reports in Spain linking the Germany international with a January move to Barcelona.
"Yes of course," the Frenchman – who has previously suggested the pair could leave – responded when asked whether Sanchez and Ozil will remain at Arsenal. "I am not the only one who can decide that. They have a part to play in that as well. If it is my decision, then yes. We have said it many times.
"I rule it out. I don't think every day about that. As long as they are here they give their best for the club. In my head they stay until the end of the season. Unless something unbelievable happens I don't see that changes."