Arsenal are facing a striker shortage just days after failing to add forward reinforcements in the transfer window, with Danny Welbeck ruled out until the end of the year.
Welbeck, who has been sidelined since April, will remain out of action “for a period of months” after he underwent surgery in a bid to solve a persistent knee injury, the club said.
The Gunners sent the 24-year-old, who scored eight goals in 34 games last season, for an operation after he proved unable to step up his recovery through training, despite working through the summer.
His extended lay-off leaves manager Arsene Wenger with just Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott as recognised strikers, although versatile attackers Alexis Sanchez and Joel Campbell can be deployed centrally.
Wenger sought to bolster his squad with an elite striker during the summer, but Real Madrid saw off interest in Karim Benzema and the transfer window closed on Tuesday without any outfield arrivals.
Neither Giroud nor Walcott are on prolific form. The Frenchman has netted just twice in his last 14 appearances while Walcott struck seven in 23 last term and is goal-less in four outings this season.
Campbell, who signed in 2011 but spent three years on loan in France, Spain and Greece, is yet to register in 10 appearances for Arsenal. Two of the Gunners’ three goals so far in this campaign have come from opponents finding their own net.
“Danny Welbeck has undergone surgery on his left knee after being unable to sufficiently step up his rehabilitation work,” the club said.
“Danny is now expected to be out for a period of months and everyone at Arsenal wishes him well.”