Vermaelen: I'm on the mend
The Belgium international has been sidelined since the end of August when he helped Arsenal to Champions League victory at Udinese. Vermaelen, though, has denied suggestions that he has suffered a fresh setback in his bid for full fitness. "It bothers me to read wrong stories all the time, stating that I am dealing with an Achilles tendon injury," Vermaelen said in a statement released by his management company Sports Entertainment Group (SEG). "Easily said, but not true. They make it look much worse, which is not a good thing. I have never had problems with my Achilles tendon. In fact, my Achilles heel has always been in perfect condition. "One other thing: Arsene Wenger recently told that my return was a bit delayed, which leaded to news stories telling that I was dealing with a setback in my recovery. "Untrue, as I am making progression each day. I had surgery in the beginning of September and usually the recovery takes six weeks, but you are never sure." Vermaelen insists things are very much on course, adding: "It's getting better each day. "An operation always goes with some stiffness and moisture. Now it is just a matter of getting stronger again, await the reactions. "For a week I have been back on the training ground to do running exercises together with the fitness coach. "I have been away for a few weeks and now I have to work on my condition. In the next few weeks we will continue this. It might take two or three weeks, but I cannot confirm a date for my return yet. "Each day we have to wait and see how the foot reacts. It is a lot of hard work, but at least I am improving and that is what matters. "Last year I went through a very hard period, as for quite a long time we did not know what caused the injury. "I have been away for one year and that was a very hard period. A footballer always wants to play, but fortunately now I know how long the recovery will last. I don't have to worry, it could have been much worse. "The season has just started and there are still many matches ahead of us. There is where my focus is right now." Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger revealed he was hopeful Vermaelen would soon be back. "He's two weeks away. He is running out on the pitches," said Wenger. "He looks alright but we have to respect the progression, you still have to give him two to three weeks to be competitive again. "Basically we have Diaby, Vermaelen, Sagna and Wilshere out - the players who have had surgery - everybody else is available." He also had updates on both Abou Diaby and Bacary Sagna. "It is very good news," he said of Diaby. "He's coming back in full training now so he is 10 days away to be competitive to play. "All being well he should be available for the Carling Cup or the game before." On Sagna, he added: "He is down of course because when you are used so much to playing every three days and suddenly you are at home without any movement it is very difficult to take."