Mikel Arteta says Arsenal need to sign a new centre-back in the transfer window after admitting Shkodran Mustafi will miss the start of next season through injury.
The German defender limped off late on during Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final success against Manchester City following a challenge with Raheem Sterling.
Mustafi had a scan earlier this week and, speaking after Arsenal finished their league season with a 3-2 win against Watford on Sunday, Arteta has now revealed the extent of the injury.
“It looks really nasty,” said Arsenal’s head coach. “He pulled the tendon off the bone in his hamstring and that’s normally a lot of weeks.”
When asked if that means he will miss the start of the 2020/21 campaign, which gets underway on September 12, Arteta added: “Yes, he will.”
Arteta has already lost Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari to long-term injuries since he arrived at the club in December.
Chambers is now back doing light work on the training pitch having ruptured the cruciate ligament in his right knee just after Christmas but is not expected to be fully fit for a few months yet.
Mari meanwhile has had surgery after he sprained his ankle ligaments in the defeat at Manchester City in June and will not play until October at the earliest.
And with Mustafi now also confined to the treatment room for the foreseeable future, Arteta says it’s something Arsenal must address once the transfer window opens later this month.
“I mentioned three central defenders that are not available and we haven’t had [two of them] them available for a long time during the season,” said the Spaniard.
“We will have to address that.”
Mustafi’s injury obviously rules him out of next Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea, a game Arsenal must win to qualify for the Europa League next season.
Goalkeeper Bernd Leno could be in contention for the squad, however, after returning to training following the knee injury he sustained against Brighton, but Arteta has said that Emiliano Martinez will be in goal at Wembley.
“Emi had another good performance [against Watford],” said Arsenal’s head coach. “Bernd is still recovering from his injuries, so Emi is the one.
“Let’s hope that he (Martinez) is available for the game and if that’s the case he will start."