Transfer news: Theo Walcott injury likely to force Arsenal into January moves as injuries begin to mount

Wenger had previously stated that a long-term injury to Nicklas Bendtner could force him to sign another striker and Walcott has since joined the Dane on the sidelines

Arsene Wenger may be forced to re-evaluate Arsenal's January transfer plans following the loss of Theo Walcott to a knee injury which will rule the England forward out for the rest of the season and shatter his World Cup dream.

Arsenal confirmed on Monday evening tests had revealed the 24-year-old had damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the closing stages of Saturday's FA Cup win over Tottenham and, after surgery, he will need at least six months of rehabilitation.

Initially it had been hoped Walcott, who had scored five goals since returning from a stomach muscle injury earlier in the season, would only be out for a matter of weeks after appearing to jar his knee when making a defensive tackle.

Indeed, the 24-year-old did not appear to be in severe pain as he was carried off the field and even signalled '2-0' in the direction of the 5,000-strong Spurs fans, while missiles - including coins and plastic bottles - were seen to hit medical staff as they lifted the stretcher around to the tunnel on the halfway line.

However, following further tests and specialist examination, the club's worst fears were confirmed just a few hours after the Football Association decided the player would face no disciplinary action for his hand gesture.

"The club regrettably announces that Theo Walcott has sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee," Arsenal said in a statement.

"Theo will have surgery in London in the near future and is expected to be out for at least six months, therefore missing the remainder of the season and the World Cup in Brazil in the summer.

"Everyone at Arsenal wishes Theo a speedy recovery and we look forward to seeing him back on a football pitch as soon as possible."

The full diagnosis of Walcott's knee problem is now likely to have a knock-on impact to Wenger's plans on how best to bolster his squad during the January window in an attempt to last the distance in the battle for honours.

The attacking options of the Barclay Premier League leaders were already depleted, given Nicklas Bendtner is expected to miss all of January with the ankle problem he picked up while scoring a late goal in the 2-0 win over Cardiff on New Year's Day, while France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo is also way short of match sharpness.

Wenger, though, concedes a big-money signing during January can be notoriously difficult to push through.

A move for Dimitar Berbatov was last week played down, but the veteran Fulham forward would appear to fit the bill in terms of price tag and experience, while the likes of 21-year-old Alvaro Morata of Real Madrid could prove a stop-gap loan option.

Walcott, meanwhile, is now set to miss what could have been a third opportunity to represent England at the World Cup finals.

The former Southampton forward is yet to play in a World Cup match, having been a shock selection as a raw talent in Sven-Goran Eriksson's 2006 squad for Germany, while his omission by Fabio Capello four years later was equally surprising.

Arsenal team-mate Aaron Ramsey - who recovered from a double leg break in 2010 - was quick to offer support to his friend.

The Wales midfielder wrote on Twitter: "Gutted for Theo, he'll come back stronger after this. Been fantastic for us so far this season. Have a speedy recovery mate."

Following their hectic festive schedule, Arsenal now have an extended break until the next Barclays Premier League match, when they travel to Aston Villa on Monday January 13.

Wenger has been impressed with the resilience of his squad.

"You feel the spirit is there to fight together," he said.

"You can put any player anywhere, they just fight for each other and that is just the greatest ingredient of positiveness we have in the squad."

Elsewhere, the FA has digested the full match report of referee Mark Clattenburg following a fiery end to the north London derby and will also speak to other relevant bodies as well both clubs in a quest to single out any offenders - with a warning of life-time bans for those found guilty.

 

PA

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
news
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
music
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 week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick