What was supposed to be a month in which the Arsenal squad will be refreshed by the return of her injury absentees has slowly turned somewhat sour as Wenger has now confirmed a combined further six month absence for two of his key first team starters, Mikel Arteta and Mattieu Debuchy.
The Arsenal captain has not kicked a competitive ball since the Champions League draw at home to Anderlecht with what was termed a calf injury at the time but a series of recent ankle troubles have necessitated surgical operation which has been conducted successfully.
“Mikel had surgery which went well” Wenger said to the club’s official website.
“…He is back with us at the training ground”
“He had a limited mobility in his ankle and some persistent inflammation that had an impact on his calf. That meant we had to make a decision to have surgery and it’s a proper solution which gives him the best chance to recover.”
Arteta is one of Wenger’s trusted marshals in the dressing room to help keep the squad united and focused on their duties and as much as he’s not thought highly of as a defensive midfielder by the majority of Arsenal fans, he has managed to play a vital role in the midfield for the best part of three seasons now. However, recurring injury episodes this season alone have fuelled the feeling that he may not have enough in his legs to keep him in control of the crucial coordinative role at the Emirates.
Worse still will be the news that Debuchy would have to face another three month spell on the sidelines and while there may be little genuine sympathy for Arteta considering the frustration amongst fans that Wenger should have tried to replace him last summer, Debuchy has so far proven to be a perfect replacement for Sagna and it must be very disheartening for him not to get a proper run in the team.
It points down to the fact that Wenger MUST be involved in trying to recruit at least one defender this window and given that this need had been glaring even before the Frenchman’s latest gravitational accident, we may be looking at a necessary double barrel acquisition. Arsenal do not have the option to recall Carl Jenkinson from his loan spell at West Ham but a right back replacement won’t be needed as there are two hungry youngsters in Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin eager to prove themselves and Wenger will surely hand them the chance. Virgil van Dijk and Jenkos’s current defensive partner at Upton Park, Winston Reid, are amongst options that have been linked to a potential move to Arsenal this window, and the Gunners must now go out and make a firm acquisition who will add more to the strength of the back four.
Arteta’s extended injury should also be a signal that we need some addition in midfield, as we still do not have Wilshere available till late February. Talks are believed to be at an advanced stage with Bielik, though it’d be interesting to see if the 17-year old is Wenger’s idea of the main successor to the 33-year old captain.
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