Arsenal's Premier League title ambitions have been dealt a severe blow after the Gunners confirmed that midfielder Santi Cazorla is to undergo ankle surgery which will see him sidelined for up to three months.
Cazorla has not featured for the north London outfit since 19 October, although the prognosis appeared promising on Wednesday when boss Arsene Wenger said that the Spaniard could be fit to play within two weeks.
The club’s medical staff have since decided that Cazorla requires surgery, which means the 31-year-old could miss in the region of 13 further top-flight matches and both legs of the Champions League last 16.
“Santi Cazorla is travelling to Sweden early next week to undergo surgery to his right ankle,” read a club statement.
“The club’s medical team and specialists have decided that surgery is required to the plantaris tendon in his right foot. We expect Santi’s full recovery to take approximately three months.”
Arsenal, who were knocked out of the EFL Cup by Southampton on Wednesday, currently sit fourth in the Premier League, three points adrift of leaders Chelsea, and travel to West Ham on Saturday.