Arsenal will be without Francis Coquelin for “at least two months”, while Arsene Wenger has vowed to “do what is needed” in the January transfer window.
The Gunners missed the opportunity to move to the top of the Premier League as they slipped to a 2-1 loss at the Hawthorns – with the serious injury to Coquelin now leaving Wenger without a mainstay of his side over the busy festive period.
The 24-year-old has developed into a first-team regular at the Emirates Stadium and Wenger is hoping a scan later on Monday does not rule the France international out for even longer.
“I’m always a bit cautious,” he said when asked about the seriousness of Coquelin’s injury.
“It is a least two months but I’m cautious as we had so many bad surprises on scans that I do not want to speculate more than that. Certainly for the next two months we play without Coquelin.”
While the January transfer window will give Wenger the chance to bring in another midfield recruit, he suggested he already has a number of options available to step into Coquelin’s place.
“It is of course a disappointment to lose him in the longer term but we have in the squad the players who can compensate. We have lost a player of quality for a while but we know that can happen,” he added.
“I will give myself time, we have players who play in this position like Mathieu Flamini and players who can play there like Calum Chambers.
“Sometimes this is a good opportunity for other players to turn up and do the job. I will do what is needed in January, knowing as well it is not an ideal transfer market.”
Coquelin has been at Arsenal since 2008 but was on the fringes of the team until being recalled from a loan spell at Charlton in December.
Since then he has established himself in the team but his absence will again draw attention to the fact Wenger did not bring in any outfield reinforcements over the summer.