The Spanish midfielder will miss the opening game of the season due to a thigh injury, in a blow for the Gunners.
Arsenal’s inactivity in the transfer market has frustrated the club’s fans this summer, as the north Londoners have struggled to add quality to their squad.
However, with a number of players missing for the opening fixture of the new campaign against Aston Villa, the lack of new faces is a real concern.
Mikel Arteta is the latest player to be ruled out of the opening day fixture at the Emirates Stadium, as the former Everton man has injured his thigh.
Reports emerged that Arteta had strained his quadriceps, however it is now being suggested that the midfielder may even have a tear, which would keep him out for over a month.
With 17 players leaving the Emirates club this summer with only one coming in, and the likes of Thomas Vermaelen, Nacho Monreal, Bacary Sagna and Abou Diaby all injured, Arsenal’s lack of strength in depth is starting to become exposed.
Aaron Ramsay pulled out of the midweek Wales squad as a precaution, and now will most likely be forced to play alongside Jack Wilshere, as Arsene Wenger’s options are limited in the centre of the park due to Arteta’s setback.
Arsenal have failed to sign a new defensive midfield enforcer since the departure of Alex Song to Barcelona last summer, but a replacement was thought to being lined up in the form of Bayern Munich’s Luiz Gustavo.
Despite the player coming out publicly and admitting that he is interested in a move to the Emirates Stadium, a deal has not been completed. Arsenal now face competition from Wolfsburg for the Brazil international’s signing, and the Bundesliga club are confident of capturing the South American ahead of the Gunners.
“He will leave Bayern and the odds are in our favour,” Wolfsburg general manager Klaus Allofskicker on Thursday afternoon.
“I believe his decision is imminent.”
The word crisis is used too much in football. However, in the case of the current Arsenal squad, another injury or two will see them in big trouble. Arsene Wenger has aimed to lower the club’s wage bill this summer and get rid of some fringe players that were unlikely to play, but the squad now lacks reserve players that can come into the first team and offer quality if the likes of Arteta are injured. Compare Wenger’s midfield options to title rivals Manchester City, who have six international players competing for two central midfield berths, and it becomes clear that Arsenal need to strengthen.
Wenger has stated that he is still in the market for new players, and he still has over two weeks before the window closes. With the club keen to contest on two fronts this term, a number of new faces are needed to bulk up the squad and ensure that Wenger is not relying on untested youngsters in key positions.
image: © wonker