Arsenal’s first team squad assembled for their official 2017/18 photo shoot on Tuesday but eagle-eyed supporters spotted one notable absentee.
Santi Cazorla, who hasn’t played a first team match since he limped off during his side’s 6-0 win over Ludogorets just under a year ago, was said to be taking significant strides towards a first team return last week with Arsene Wenger confirming the Spain international was set to begin running outdoors again.
The 32-year-old isn’t expected to make his return to competitive action until January 2018 at the earliest and consequently wasn’t named in Arsenal’s 25-man Premier League squad which can be amended at the turn of the year.
Arsenal’s official twitter account was inundated with questions relating to Cazorla’s whereabouts but the club attempted to clear up any confusion by alerting one user to the fact that the former Villarreal midfielder had been scheduled to be back in Spain to attend a follow-up appointment.
While Cazorla was otherwise unavailable, youngsters Reiss Nelson, Jo Willock and Eddie Nketiah rubbed shoulders with their more celebrated teammates ahead of their possible inclusion in Thursday’s Europa League clash against FC Koln.