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

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

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
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