Per Mertesacker has vowed to be “important” for Arsenal again after suffering a severe knee injury in a friendly in July.
Mertesacker, 32, suffered the injury against Lens in late July. He has been sidelined ever since and is working on his comeback at a rehab clinic in Donaustauf, Germany.
“I know that I need to allow myself time,” the Arsenal club captain told German football magazine kicker. “The more time I allow my knee, the longer I’ll be able to play football.”
Mertesacker said he was making good progress and hoped to return to training in November, adding: “I can increase the workload already and I am no longer in pain.”
“I believe that I can reach a level again on which I am important for the team. I have the feeling that this is not the end.”
The former Germany international’s contract comes to an end after this season, and he said his future was “all connected to how you come back after such an injury.”
“I look at the perspectives for me and my family, and I think that I’ll intensify those thoughts from January on,” he said.
“That’s also the time when you can listen to other things [offers] when your contract is expiring.”
The Gunners have made one of their best Premier League starts in recent years and are third in the table, two points behind leaders Manchester City.
But Mertesacker said: “Six, seven teams can play for the title and we are one of those. But it’s all about consistency.
“I’ve got a feeling regarding this squad. I can now see that the new signings have done us good. Arsene Wenger now has a lot of options, maybe more than he ever had.”