Tomas Rosicky could be deemed fit to play before the end of this calendar year.
The Czech international has now missed almost half a year of football after suffering a knee injury while on duty with his country during the start of the summer.
However, according to a report from a Prague-based tabloid on Wednesday, the former Dortmund midfielder, who was cleared by a doctor to resume running last week, is now preparing to return to training as early as the beginning of next month.
Five months after undergoing surgery on his injured right knee, Rosicky is reportedly targeting a comeback by the Christmas period after finding a new specialist in Germany.
Due to his lengthy spell on the sidelines, the 35-year-old is likely to be required to improve his match fitness with the club’s reserves – potentially against West Ham U21 – before being considered for the first team again.
Rosicky, who has been plagued by injuries ever since he sustained a serious hamstring problem in January 2008, was expected to be fit by next Spring at the earliest.