Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger targets new defender after Per Mertesacker suffers long-term injury

The Frenchman has made it clear that the club will need to bring in defensive cover ahead the new season

Samuel Lovett
Wednesday 27 July 2016 09:34
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Per Mertesacker could be out until December
Per Mertesacker could be out until December

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the club are in the market for a new central defender.

Per Mertesacker picked up a knee injury in Friday’s pre-season draw with Lens which is expected to keep him out of the game for "months".

Neither Gabriel nor Laurent Koscielny have travelled to America – the Brazilian is currently suffering from illness while the Frenchman is on an extended break following Euro 2016 – which has left Arsenal short of options at the back.

New-signing Rob Holding is expected to be thrown straight into action as he steps in for the missing the centre-backs.

Wenger confirmed the news on Arsenal’s official website ahead of his side’s clash with the MLS All-Stars on Thursday.

“We have bad news on Per Mertesacker," Wenger said.

"He played in Lens on Friday night, he finished the game and had a little pain on his knee. We found out the next day that it was much more serious than expected.

"He had surgery yesterday in Germany. It all went well. I know you will ask me for how long he will be out. I don't know that, it's months, but I don't know how long he will be out for."

Summer 2016 Transfer Window - Done deals and rumours

With Gabriel, Koscielny and Mertesacker all off the scene, 21-year-old Calum Chambers has been left as the most experienced defender on the US tour.

But with the new season set to kick off in just over two weeks, Wenger has admitted that Mertesacker’s absence will force the club to bring in a replacement.

"We have to look for an option to get a bit more experience," Wenger said.

"We will see some of our young centre backs on Thursday as well. With Per being out, we are a bit short on the experience front and we are looking to bring somebody in."

Unsurprisingly, Wenger refused to offer up any suggestions of who he would be tempted to bring to the Emirates.

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