It has been a disastrous summer for Arsenal fans. While title rivals spend, Arsene Wenger refuses to play that game, content to stick with a squad that has some glaring holes in it.
One of those holes if defensively and that hole is now a crater after center half Gabriel was stretchered off against Manchester City on Sunday.
As it stands, Arsene Wenger does not have a single fully-fit senior centre-back going into the the Gunners Premier League opener against Liverpool next weekend.
With Per Mertesacker facing at least four months out with a knee injury sustained earlier in pre-season and Laurent Koscielny not due back in training until this morning, the Gunners manager is facing a huge dilemma.
Gabriel collided with Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho in injury time of Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Pep Guardiola’s team, injuring his left ankle in the process.
The Brazil international screamed in agony and received lengthy treatment before being stretchered off. He left the Ullevi Stadium in a protective boot and on crutches as he returned to England with the team.
‘We’ve not made a diagnosis yet, I can’t tell you more. He’s in pain, let’s hope the pain is not a sign of bad news” said Wenger.
‘It’s an ankle sprain, we just need to know how serious. He will be out for next week, we are very short at centre-back.’
Gabriel’s injury is likely to see Arsenal intensify their attempts to land £40 million-rated Valencia centre back Shkodran Mustafi.
The Germany international is Wenger’s No 1 central defensive target and the Gunners boss added:
‘I’ve said many times we are in the market. Of course, it’s not an easy market for us, let’s hope for good news.’
So Wenger’s hand should be forced now by Gabriel’s injury to go out and buy Mustafi. But getting him signed, fit and comfortable playing alongside the rest of the Arsenal defence with take time. Time they don’t have due to Wenger’s inactivity this summer.
And with Liverpool (h) and Leicester (a) as the Gunners first two games we could see Arsenal six points behind the leaders before the international break.