Arsene Wenger has finally given a update on Abou Diaby, and it is not good.
The Frenchman is quoted in The Mirror describing how the midfielder is nowhere near making a comeback.
He said: "Diaby is still injured. At the moment he is not in a position where he will be able to play soon because he is not on the field at all.”
Wenger had been conspicuously quiet on Diaby for months, barely referencing him in fitness updates, or providing any details on his condition, previously listed as a calf injury.
Diaby suffered a serious knee injury in March 2013, and finally made a comeback in September, starting in the Capital One Cup game against Southampton.
There were a couple of under-21 displays he featured in beforehand and after, including at the end of last season, and Wenger was positive after the Saints game that he could be an answer for the defensive midfield position. The last time he was seen was for the under-21s in October.
Then he disappeared from the picture, and unfortunately had lost relevance in any case in terms of being considered a first team player, that his continued absence barely seemed headline news.
Wenger did say in December that Diaby would get offered a new deal if he was fit, speaking in The Mail, an admission of sorts at that stage he had gone back to the treatment table.
Diaby's contract runs out at the end of the season, and based on Wenger's recent comments that he won't be able to play any time soon, it's difficult to justify handing him a new deal.
It will be a tough decision from an emotional perspective for Wenger to sanction a release of the injury-prone midfielder, with Diaby then in a tough spot.
Away from Arsenal, he may struggle to find a club to take him on, certainly one where he would feel comfortable given his extensive injury history, with retirement one potential option.
Yet when/if he is fit, he may find it easier to flourish, if he is at a club where competition for a first team place is not so intense, as even if he recovers this season, would Arsenal really want to throw him in at such a crucial stage of the campaign?