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The Gunners' medics expect the Denmark international to be on the sidelines for at least a month, which could force Arsene Wenger into the transfer market

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey

Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner has been ruled out for up to six weeks through injury.

The Gunners received confirmation via scans on Saturday morning that the Denmark international damaged ligaments in his right ankle in Wednesday's 2-0 win over Cardiff City.

The club’s medical staff expect Bendtner to be out of action for between four and six weeks.

There will be relief that the striker, who scored the opening goal in the midweek win, has not torn the ligaments but his prolonged absence puts further strain on Arsenal’s already strained resources up front.

Olivier Giroud is the only fit senior centre-forward in the squad but the Frenchman has played virtually every minute of every game for the club this season due to the lack of viable alternatives.

Arsene Wenger had been reluctant to utilise Bendtner before his injury and has little faith in Theo Walcott or Lukas Podolski spearheading the attack.

The French coach admitted on Friday that he will have to delve into the January transfer market to bolster his centre-forward options.

Goal revealed in December that Arsenal had dispatched scouts to monitor in-form Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, who figures prominently on a five-man January striker shortlist compiled by the club, which also includes the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Stephan El Shaarawy and Fernando Llorente.

Wenger is also considering a loan deal for Real Madrid youngster Alvaro Morata as a back-up option if he cannot secure a marquee forward in the notoriously difficult winter window.

The Arsenal boss is expected to field a virtually full-strength team for Saturday evening’s FA Cup third-round clash against north London neighbours Tottenham.

It is understood that Mesut Ozil, who has missed the club’s last two matches with a shoulder injury, has been passed fit and available for selection, with Wenger set to make only one or two changes to the side that overcame Cardiff.

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