Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi will join Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers in missing the beginning of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign after undergoing surgery on his hamstring injury.
The Premier League recently revealed that the new season will commence in just six weeks time on 12 September, with Mikel Arteta set to be thin at centre-back to start the campaign.
Football London’s James Benge has confirmed that Mustafi will be out of action until October after undergoing surgery on his hamstring, while the ankle issue sustained by Pablo Mari in Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester City in the Gunners’ first game back after the restart is set to keep him out until September.
The club are also yet to put a date on Chambers’ return, meaning it’s highly unlikely he’ll be fit for the start of next season.
The former Southampton defender suffered a ruptured ACL in the league defeat to Chelsea last December, with an initial diagnosis suggesting he’d miss between six to nine months of action.
That leaves David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Rob Holding and imminent new arrival Willliam Saliba as Arteta’s currently healthy centre-back options, while Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney have both been deployed at the heart of defence since the Spaniard has switched to a 3-4-3 after the restart.
Although the Arsenal boss should have enough to get by to start the season, there’s no doubting the Gunners will be keen on potentially adding another centre-back recruit this summer.
Former Nice star Malang Sarr is an attractive option as he’s out of contract this summer, but reports suggest Arsenal may have missed out on the Frenchman due to their delayed approach, with RB Leipzig also keen.
A move for long-term target Dayot Upamecano, meanwhile, is seemingly off the table too, with German news outlet Sportbuzzer claiming that the Frenchman has agreed to sign a new deal at Leipzig.
However, even if Upamecano were to be available for transfer this summer, it would’ve been hard to envisage the north Londoners being able to fund a deal for the defender given the financial constraints placed upon many clubs because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
For that reason, a deal for Atletico’s Thomas Partey would appear unlikely – purely because Arsenal are not in a strong enough financial position to pay the release clause in the Ghanaian’s contract.
If the Gunners are to bring in another centre-back in the current window, astute work in the market will be crucial – and the lack of market options is perhaps indicative of the decision to award Luiz fresh terms.