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Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta could be nearing the end of his football career after revealing recent injuries are taking its toll on him, via London sport.
The midfielder has made just eight appearances for the Gunners this term with all his appearance coming from the bench.
Arteta says he has been unable to return to top form after the injury that forced him to undergo surgery 14 months ago. But he is hopeful he can return to full fitness and play regularly again.
“It has been difficult since my ankle surgery [in January 2015] to get back into the team,” Arteta said, as quoted by London24.
“I did the entire pre-season and felt good. But I’ve played less continuously than at any time since I came to Arsenal.
“There’s a calf muscle problem and it’s affecting my pace.
I’ve been training with the group again for a few days and I’m ready to help the team in the final stretch of the season.”
With the midfielder in the last year of his contract and well into his thirties, the Spaniard is being tipped to leave the Emirates this summer.
However, he has revealed that he is yet to decide whether to remain at the Emirates or not. He went on to add that there isn’t any talks regarding a new contract yet but he knows his age will play a major factor if he will be offered a new contract or not.
“I love training and playing matches. I’ve enjoyed competing and in the 17 years I’ve been a professional I’ve always been a starter, also a captain. Ageing is a process that you have to go through and the club has to think about the future. I understand that.
“It hurts that there have been injuries that have meant I’ve not been able to play with the team. That’s what is leaving a bad taste in my mouth.
“Right now I’m just focused on contributing to the team on the pitch, we’ve an exciting end of the season looming and hopefully we’ll win the Premier League.
“The next chapter is more complicated, today, I’m not sure on my plans. Obviously, it’s not impossible to think three months ahead when my contract ends here, but I won’t be thinking objectively until I’ve had two or three weeks without training. Therefore, I don’t want to make any decisions without knowing for sure how I am and what I want to do able getting back in the ring.”