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Arsenal 'forced' to sign a new centre-back after Mustafi injury - Keown

6:53 PM EST 1/27/20
Shkodran Mustafi, Arsenal injury
The centre-back was stretchered off around the hour mark in the Gunners' FA Cup win over Bournemouth to compound Mikel Arteta's injury concerns

Arsenal must make a last-ditch dive into the transfer market in the final few days of the window to plug the gap left behind by the injured Shkodran Mustafi, according to former club favourite Martin Keown.

The centre-back was stretchered off around the hour mark in the Gunners' 2-1 win over Bournemouth in the FA Cup fourth-round, to compound boss Mikel Arteta's injury woes.

Calum Chambers is already sidelined with a knee issue but with the Germany international likely to join him on the sidelines now, the club will see their depth tested once more.

Ex-defender Keown pointed to such issues in his post-match comments as Arsenal booked a trip to Portsmouth in the last 16, saying that Arteta must be prepared to address them immediately.

"They have lost Mustafi tonight and you'd have to say it looks like a really bad one. That will force them into the transfer market," he told BT Sport. "Numerically Arsenal need a centre-back. There is so much to fight for.

The 53-year-old, however, was quick to praise the contributions made by a youthful Gunners outfit, who struck early through Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah to take an ultimately unassailable lead, despite Sam Surridge's consolation goal in stoppage time.

"But these young men should be proud of their efforts. They had quality, imagination and they showed desire."

Mustafi is in his fourth season at the Emirates Stadium, having joined in 2016 from Valencia in a big-money move to the Premier League, having initially began his career on the books at Everton.

He helped Arsenal to an FA Cup crown in his maiden campaign and was a member of the Gunners squad last term that reached the final of the Europa League against Chelsea.

The North London outfit are yet to bring any new faces through the door this January, though they have seen a host of fringe players - including centre-back Konstantinos Mavropanos - depart on loan deals.

They were expected to recruit Flamengo defender Pablo Mari over the weekend but the Spaniard has returned to Brazil with no details finalised, leaving the deal in limbo.