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Published: 09:55 | 12/8/16

Injury concerns for Arsenal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed both Per Mertesacker and Gabriel face a lengthy spell on the sidelines because of the injuries they picked up in pre-season.

Mertesacker suffered a knee injury during Arsenal's pre-season friendly against Lens before Gabriel damaged ankle ligaments in the final minutes of the 3-2 win over Manchester City last week.

Gabriel will miss up to eight weeks of the new season, with Mertesacker out for several months to leave Calum Chambers as the only fit senior centre-half going into Sunday's Premier League opener against Liverpool.

“Mertesacker is out for four months and Gabriel six to eight weeks, which is a bit better than expected because he doesn’t need surgery," Wenger told his pre-match press conference.

“He ruptured his ankle ligament. At the start we thought it could be four months."

Wenger also confirmed that Laurent Koscielny will not be fit for the game due to his extended involvement at Euro 2016.

Arsenal have been relatively quiet in the transfer market but they could be close to agreeing a deal for Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi with the player's agent claiming he has agreed personal terms with the London club.

Wenger, however, refused to discuss the situation at his pre-match press conference.

“I cannot tell you. Today my focus is not too much on transfers because we have an important game in 48 hours and to win this game, transfers won’t help us," he said.

"We have a strong squad and have to deal with the game.

“We have lost three centre-backs because Laurent Koscielny is also not ready and out of the game but I believe we are equipped to do well."

When pressed for information on his transfer business, Wenger revealed the club were in the market for a new defender.

"Transfer wise, as soon as we do something we will inform you," he said. "I am looking at no other areas apart from centre-back, it’s about quality."

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