Arsenal's Santi Cazorla will undergo ankle surgery and is set for a three-month spell on the sidelines, the Premier League club said on Thursday.
Cazorla, who has scored two goals in 11 appearances in all competitions this season, last featured in Arsenal's Champions League win over Ludogorets in October and was initially expected to make his return from injury in November.
“Santi Cazorla is travelling to Sweden early next week to undergo surgery to his right ankle,” the club said on their website (www.arsenal.com).
“We expect Santi's full recovery to take approximately three months.”
The 31-year-old Cazorla faced a similar situation with a knee injury last season when he was expected to return within 12 weeks but instead spent six months on the sidelines.
The Spain international's incisive passing was sorely missed in last month's draws against Manchester United, Paris St Germain and Tottenham Hotspur and his injury will come as big blow to Arsenal's Premier League title aspirations.
Arsenal, who face 16th-placed West Ham United on Saturday, are fourth in the table with 28 points, three behind leaders Chelsea after 13 games.