Arsenal seek loan deals after setback for Gibbs

With all his full-backs injured, Wenger admits he may be forced to dip into the January sales

Arsenal have begun the search for new full-backs after an injury setback for Kieran Gibbs. Arsène Wenger admitted yesterday that he is "starting to look at players" as he faces the New Year with five defenders injured, including all four specialist full-backs.

Wenger is not known for his enthusiasm in the transfer market, but two more pieces of bad injury news may force his hand. Johan Djourou sustained a "mild groin strain" against Manchester City on Sunday, according to Wenger, and the manager admitted yesterday to fearing that Djourou will be out for three weeks.

The news is little better with Gibbs, who has not played for two months following hernia surgery. "Kieran Gibbs has unfortunately had a setback and he is not back yet," said Wenger. "It's very disappointing because we had good hope that he would be back for [tonight's League game with Aston Villa], but he is not available."

The prognosis on Gibbs will decide what Arsenal do. "It depends now on Gibbs," Wenger said. "He sees a specialist again today and if something happens there that he has had a real setback then possibly [I will go into the loan market], yes."

Wenger admitted that the search has already begun. "It is not a shop, you just take a good opportunity that is on the market when you can. Overall that's what we are doing at the moment. We are starting to look at players if Gibbs is not back."

Arsenal already have Andre Santos, Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson out injured, forcing them to play centre-backs Djourou, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen at full-back. Wenger recognises that this compromises his tactics, as well as leaving the team vulnerable to more injuries in future.

"It's difficult because first of all we have centre-backs who do not like to play at full-back," Wenger said. "We are a team who likes to go forward through the full-backs, so of course, they are in a position where they have to produce different games. That is much more demanding physically. That exposes us even more to injuries, so I try to rotate people – one time right-back, one time centre-back."

Arsenal travel to Villa Park this evening, and Wenger will have to draft a relative outsider into a rather frayed back four. "I can use Sebastien Squillaci, I can use Ignasi Miquel, I can use Francis Coquelin," he said. "Let's be frank and honest, no solution will be ideal because whatever we do, two players will have to play out of position. At the moment we are coping well with it and that's why inside the team we have to work as hard as possible and that we do not suffer in this period."

Despite the injuries, Arsenal's defensive record has been remarkably consistent in recent weeks, conceding just three goals in their last six Premier League games. "If you have improved defensively and kept six clean sheets in the season, nobody would have predicted that after Manchester United [the 8-2 defeat]," he said.

That improvement has led to a strong league showing; Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Manchester City ended an eight-game unbeaten run. "We are a team who wants to respond quickly now and keep our spirit and determination," Wenger said. "Then we have a bright future, but it's important that if we keep that spirit and determination we can go from strength to strength. We are not the same team we were two months ago. In the next two months of course we want to be different again."

Falling full-backs: Arsenal's injury list

Bacary Sagna Broken fibula on 2 October ruled him out until 2012. Has started running in training.

Andre Santos Out until March with ankle ligament damage sustained earlier this month in Greece.

Kieran Gibbs Had hernia surgery in mid-October, but has had a setback.

Carl Jenkinson Currently out with a stress fracture to the back.

Johan Djourou Went off on Sunday with a groin strain, which may cost him three weeks.

Suggested Topics
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
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

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'