By Chris Harris

Thomas Vermaelen will not be back until the New Year.

The centre back has not played since Belgium's Euro 2012 qualifier in Turkey on September 7 after picking up an Achilles problem. At the time Vermaelen was expected to be available within a week but, three months on, he is still waiting.

Last month Arsène Wenger admitted there was "no logical explanation" for Vermaelen's prolonged absence and the manager does not expect to call on the 25-year-old, at least not until the end of December.

“Vermaelen is in a [protective] boot," said Wenger.

"We want him back and I hope he will be back soon, but not before January.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 6 Dec 2010