Arsenal right back Hector Bellerin will be sidelined for six to nine months after sustaining a cruciate knee ligament injury in Saturday’s 2-0 English Premier League win over Chelsea.
Bellerin, who was making his first start after returning from a calf injury, went down clutching his knee while challenging for the ball in the second half.
He was then carried off the pitch on a stretcher.
The injury to the 23-year-old Spaniard is another blow to manager Unai Emery.
He has already lost defender Rob Holding for the rest of the season to a similar knee problem last month.
The Spanish coach said he had players to fill in for Bellerin and was unlikely to dip into the transfer market to sign a replacement.
He had previously said he could only take players on loan in the January transfer window.
“We have Ainsley (Maitland-Niles). He can help us by playing like a right back or a right winger. And also, (Stephan) Lichtsteiner is another player,” Emery said.
“I don’t forget (Carl) Jenkinson… he played some matches and if we need (him), he is okay to help us.”
Arsenal next host Manchester United in an FA Cup fourth round tie on Friday, before returning to English Premier League action against Cardiff City at home on Jan. 29.
By Olawale Alabi