By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger is optimistic that Thomas Vermaelen will not need surgery.

The Belgian defender has been out of the Arsenal side since late August with an Achilles injury and suffered, what the manager described as, “a little set-back” last weekend.

Midweek tests went well and Wenger is employing the best specialists around the world to bring back Vermaelen as soon as possible. As a result, the Frenchman is hopeful the 25-year-old will not have to go under the surgeon’s knife.

“We don’t know yet, we don’t think so,” said Wenger on Friday. “But he is still a while away yet.”

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 14 Jan 2011