Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker ruled out for 5 months
Arsenal will kick off the new season against Liverpool without their German defender.
Yesterday, the official Twitter account of Arsenal posted an update regarding former Germany central defender Per Mertesacker. The club officially confirmed that Mertesacker was not a part of the squad for the team's pre-season tour of the United States of America.
The update reported that Mertesacker is still suffering from a problematic knee which sees him at the sidelines currently for the Gooners. No specific return date was given and the severity of the knee injury was left up to speculation. However, Spanish journalist Kike Marin working with El Confidencial has reported that the player can be out for as much as five months. The same was also reported by Sky Sports News HQ.
Earlier this month, Mertesacker himself had posted a picture of him training with his Arsenal teammates and had implied that it was good to return to the team in preparation for next season. The former German international and World Cup winner has been a notable part of Arsene Wenger's squad always. This injury, however, hampers Arsenal's defensive options.
With Mertesacker out, the two established centre-backs that remain as options for the team during their pre-season tour are newcomer Rob Holding and Calum Chambers. Once the season starts, they will have Laurent Koscielny back; with the Frenchman taking a break from the game following his association with France at the Euro Championship 2016. Brazillian Gabriel Paulista meanwhile is reportedly out with tonsillitis.
Chambers has not been used as a centre-back for quite some time and him playing in that position is itself a rarity with Wenger preferring to use him as a right-back. 20-year old Rob Holding, on the other hand, is a new and relatively inexperienced signing. This may be a chance to prove himself.
This injury is a big blow to Arsenal and their pre-season campaign and it is unlikely that they will put up a strong show defensively after this.
As far as stats go, Mertesacker has registered 29 starts for Arsenal last season which shows how integral he is to the team. He suffered the injury during Arsenal's 1-1 draw against Lens last Friday.
The club has not officially announced anything regarding this yet. According to Sky Sports, an announcement is likely to be made within the next 48 hours with complete updates as to how long it would take for Mertesacker to recover.