Arteta close to new deal

Date published: Saturday 18th April 2015 7:09

The 33-year-old is set to miss Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Reading at Wembley as he recovers from an ankle problem.

Arsene Wenger is keen to retain the services of Arteta, who is out of contract in the summer but is expected to agree a 12-month extension.

And the former Everton man is determined to get himself fully match fit before signing a new deal.

He said: “My only aim is to get back fit and try to perform on the pitch.

“As long as I do that I am sure that I will continue with this club, with the relationship I have with the club and the respect I have from everybody here

“If I don’t do that then I am not going to be here because I don’t want to be somewhere where I cannot perform at my best and give what I think I can give.

“In May, when everything is fine, we will sit down and talk and it will take five minutes.”

The playmaker had surgery on his ankle and has not played since the Gunners beat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in November.

In his absence, the Gunners have moved into the top two of the Premier League with a run of eight successive victories.

Arteta is set to step up his rehabilitation next week and could return for the showdown against Chelsea on April 26.

“I am not far. I have done five or six sessions with the first team and I am feeling good,” he added.

“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.”

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