The veteran Spaniard has been on the sidelines for a number of months through injury, but is nearing a return.
Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has revealed that he is closing in on a potential return to first-team action, with the veteran potentially available to face Chelsea in the Premier League next weekend.
The Spanish deep-lying playmaker has been on the sidelines for a number of months and has missed out on the Gunners’ excellent run of recent form.
Arteta has only started six Premier League games this season, with his last appearance for Arsene Wenger’s men coming back in November in the defeat to Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium.
However, with Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby also nearing full fitness after prolonged periods on the sidelines, and Aaron Ramsey back available, the Gunners have considerable options in the centre of the park.
Arteta has given the club’s fans an update on his fitness and is seemingly set to play a first-team role again in the near future.
"I am not far. I have done five or six sessions with the first team and I am feeling good," the former Everton man told Sky Sports.
"I don't feel I am ready to start, but I'm almost there. It has been a long process, I don't want to rush it.
"I made a mistake at the end of the rehab (from my groin problem), but I think I will be back soon.”
Francis Coquelin has established himself as one of the first names on Wenger’s team sheet since returning to North London from Charlton on loan at the turn of the year.
As such, and with Santi Cazorla playing in a deeper role, Arteta’s chance to feature regularly for the Gunners could well be limited.