Arsene Wenger: No rush to replace Santi Cazorla

Arsene Wenger will not look to replace the injured Santi Cazorla in the January transfer window.

The 31-year-old will go under the knife in Sweden next week after failing to overcome an Achilles problem which had already kept him out of the side for the previous nine games.

He is now likely to be out until March but Wenger insists he has adequate cover in the central area in Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka. In any case, he doesn’t believe there are many alternatives to Cazorla on the market.

“In midfield we have many players. There are two reasons — first of all we have the number and the quality and secondly, in the January transfer market, you will not necessarily find a Cazorla, even if you wanted to.

“Santi is desperate to play football. He’s only happy on the football pitch. I’ve spoken to him, of course. He himself wants to get out of that vicious circle of going out and coming in again. He just wants to cure it.”

Asked if he had any regrets over the treatment of Cazorla’s injury, Wenger replied: “No I don’t because we always liaise with Santi’s people and he is treated the way we wanted him to be treated.

“It is always very sensitive. Bone inflammation, you never know how long it will last. For me it’s very bad news. You always know the date of the surgery but never the date where the player will play again.

“I always try to put absolutely everything in place to avoid surgery because it creates anxiety and rehab. When you can avoid it, you have to avoid it.

“In this case, unfortunately we have come to that conclusion. Now they tell me that he will be out for two months at least but two months can sometimes be three as well.

“What’s going wrong is that he has an inflammation at the back of his foot. Nobody really knows where it comes from because he has been treated against this inflammation.

“The anti-inflammatory injections have not got rid of it. The surgeon decided to have an exploratory surgery — that means open and see what’s going on in there.”

Wenger also confirmed Mathieu Debuchy could miss six weeks after injuring his hamstring just 16 minutes into his comeback against Bournemouth.

“It’s a severe hamstring injury. Six weeks, I think,” he said. “It’s frustrating for me, but even more for him because he fights very hard. He is a guy who has exceptional attitude and is very serious.” Gabriel is likely to fill in rather than Carl Jenkinson, who hasn’t impressed in Hector Bellerin’s absence.

The Arsenal defence could have to deal with nemesis Andy Carroll, with Slaven Bilic set to recall the giant frontman for his first appearance since August.

The 27-year-old terrorised Arsene Wenger’s back four with a hat-trick in April as West Ham battled back from two goals down to earn a thrilling 3-3 draw at Upton Park. A knee injury has limited his progress since, but Bilic confirmed he was ready to face the Gunners.

“He’s a player that offers something special, he is one of the reasons why we were so prolific last season in front of goal, why we were so versatile, so dangerous, why we scored so many goals and why we finished so high.

“No centre-back feels comfortable when he’s close to the goal and the ball’s in the air.”


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