According to Spanish newspaper AS, Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho has been ruled out of action for up to two months after suffering a stress fracture in his tibia bone.
The defensive midfielder has had a busy summer, helping the Portuguese U21 side to the runners-up spot in the Euro 2015 Championship and seeing his name linked with a number of top clubs.
The Daily Star had reported Arsenal were ahead of Manchester United in the race for his signature, with a fee in the region of £19.8 million being mooted.
A defensive midfielder has long been talked about as a must-buy this summer, yet with Morgan Schneiderlin and Geoffrey Kondogbia heading elsewhere, the options are decreasing with passing week.
Now, a potential deal to bring in Carvalho ahead of the upcoming season opening is also a major doubt, with the 23-year-old ruled out of action for up to two months with injury.
The options available to Arsene Wenger are growing thin, and there is seemingly a real possibility that the club enter the new season counting on Francis Coquelin as their only true defensive midfielder.
It remains to be seen whether Jack Wilshere can alter his game to fill such a role, or whether Mikel Arteta or Mathieu Flamini provide sufficient quality as cover in the likelihood of injuries and suspensions.