Arsenal have been handed a huge boost to their European and Premier League aspirations with Santi Cazorla telling Onda Cero, as quoted by the Sun, that he could return from injury in time for the second leg against Barcelona.
The 31-year-old midfielder has not played a single minute of football for the Gunners since rupturing a knee ligament in a clash against Norwich City at the end of November.
However, after undergoing surgery at the start of December and missing nearly three months of the season, the Spaniard is targeting a comeback against the La Liga leaders at the start of next month.
He told Onda Cero, via the Sun: "I am eager to return. It is a pain to be on the sidelines and not have the chance to help your team, especially when there is a game like the one against Barcelona that everyone wants to play in.
"[Returning in the second leg] is the goal that I have. The knee is fine. I am working better every day. The aim is to get to return [against Barca] but I’m not obsessed myself. I have to go day by day."
Cazorla has been a consistently important player for Arsene Wenger since moving to the Emirates from Malaga in 2012, making 167 appearances and never playing fewer than 46 games in all competitions in each of his first three seasons at the club.
He had featured 19 times in the first four months of the current campaign before picking up the long-term injury, and his return would be a welcome boost for Wenger as Arsenal continue to compete on three frontiers.
The Gunners face Barca in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday night, are just two points off the top of the Premier League table, and will need a replay against Hull City to decide whether they make it to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.