The Spanish coach has refused to categorically rule out the possibility of Thomas Partey making his Arsenal return in Sunday’s north London derby with Tottenham.
The £45m summer signing from Atletico Madrid has made a positive impression since his deadline day arrival, but the thigh injury he suffered during last month’s defeat with Aston Villa has curtailed his progress.
Ghana international has missed the last three games in all tournaments but is closing in on a possible come back ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Jose Mourinho’s PL pacesetters.
Gunners most impressive result of the campaign so far came at Man United, where a dominant display from Thomas helped the London giants secure their first victory in the league at Theatre of Dreams since 2006.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s UEL home game with Rapid Vienna, the Spanish manager revealed Partey is desperate to come back as soon as possible but he is unwilling to take any undue risks with his star footballer.
The Spanish manager said: ‘He’s been training separately in the last week or so and we have to scan him again to see how he’s feeling. He’s a player that is so willing, that is pushing us every day and he wants to do it. I know if it’s up to Thomas then he wants to play tomorrow.’
‘At the same time, we have to protect him and make sure that when he gets back in the team, he is ready to do that and to whatever extent of minutes we can use him, so it’s going to be crucial with the moment he starts to train with the team to see how he is feeling and how he is evolving day-to-day.’