Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has hinted that the injury to defender Shkodran Mustafi could now force the club into the transfer market for a new signing in that area of the pitch.
The Mustafi injury is the latest blow for the Gunners at the back, with Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers also both out for some time, with Arteta bemoaning his luck in that department.
Discussing the problems, Arteta was quoted by the Evening Standard as suggesting this is an area of his squad that will need to be addressed over the summer.
“It looks a really nasty injury again,” Arteta said. “We have lost Calum Chambers the week after I arrived here, we lost Pablo as well for three months.
“Now we’ve lost Musti, so at the back we’re really touched and short. Musti has been playing really consistently and at a really good level with me.
“He pulled the tendon off the bone in his hamstring and that’s normally a lot of weeks. I already mentioned three central defenders that are not available and we haven’t had them available for a long time during the season. And we will have to address that.”
In truth, despite Mustafi’s improved form of late, most Gooners will probably have been keen for the club to spend big on a new centre-back this summer anyway.
It’s been a hugely disappointing season for Arsenal, who finished 8th in the Premier League table – their lowest finish for 25 years.
Arteta has done some fine work since he replaced Unai Emery in December, but it seems clear he will need to be backed in the transfer market if he is to really take this team forward.