Van Persie faces weeks out of action after sprain

Dutch specialists conclude ankle problem is worse than initial diagnosis in blow to injury-hit Arsenal

Robin van Persie will miss "at least the next few weeks" of the season after suffering a twisted ankle in Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Saturday. The Dutch football federation inspected the striker's injury yesterday and it believes that he will be out for longer than originally thought by the Gunners' medical team.

The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, said after the game that he thought Van Persie would miss 10 days of football but it now appears that was optimistic. It is a big blow for the north London club, who were without the Dutchman for five months last season with ankle ligament damage.

He recovered in time to help his country to the World Cup final in July – when they lost to Spain – but could now miss a home league game against Bolton Wanderers on 11 September, a Champions League fixture against Braga four days later and then Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Arsenal have already suffered with injuries this season. The midfielder Samir Nasri is out of action, having undergone minor knee surgery, while the likes of Denilson, Alex Song, and Johan Djourou have all been injured at one stage or another.

Van Persie's replacement for the Netherlands will be the former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who was rewarded for his blistering start to the Bundesliga season with Hamburg with a call-up for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against San Marino and Finland. The 34-year-old last played for his country in the finals of Euro 2008 after which he announced his international retirement.

He reversed that decision in the hope of getting a call-up to the 2010 World Cup squad, only to be overlooked by the Oranje coach, Bert van Marwijk. Now he will get his chance.

Wenger, meanwhile, has paid tribute to Cesc Fabregas, who seems resigned to staying at the Emirates despite constant speculation over the summer linking him with a move to Barcelona.

"I believe Cesc has given a lot to the club and the club has given a lot to Cesc as well," Wenger said. "I believe personally he loves Arsenal and that is why he accepted our decision. There is a trust and confidence [between us]. Every case is individual but to have players happy you need the club and the player to be happy.

"Of course, when a player wants to go somewhere else for a while he is not happy but it is very difficult to legislate on that. And, when you transfer a player, you need the agreement of the three parties. That is why player power exists and is legitimate. But the club has its word to say as well.

"It was vital for us to keep Cesc because we build a team around him. But I believe as well the players we have brought in have shown that they can adapt very quickly – [Laurent] Koscielny, [Marouane] Chamakh and now [Sébastien] Squillaci. So overall I believe we have done very well."

Wenger believes Fabregas can perform well this season despite any residual disappointment over his failure to get a move to the Nou Camp. "He will be the player he was before without any problem and he will be stronger," said Wenger. "And, of course, I think he will, once he is fit again, be involved mentally in the team. He is our leader, he is the leader of our team and he has a massive responsibility. I am convinced he will stand up for it."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links