By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this

Follow me on Twitter @footyinsider247

Santi Cazorla could miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his knee, Football Insider sources understand.

Arsene Wenger confirmed, as revealed by Football Insider last Friday, that Cazorla has ruptured his lateral collateral ligament and underwent an operation in Spain over the weekend.

Wenger has claimed that Cazorla could be back in three to four months but the manager’s assessment might be an optimistic one.

An Arsenal source has told Football Insider that there are genuine concerns that Cazorla might not play again this season.

Such a scenario would be another shattering blow for Arsenal, who are already without Francis Coquelin for three to six months, and could now face a similar situation with his regular central midfield partner.

It is yet another blow for Arsenal as they prepare for Wednesday’s must-win Champions League clash against Olympiakos in Greece.

Speaking to the media after Arsenal’s 3-1 Premier League win over Sunderland on Saturday, manager Arsene Wenger said: “The surgery has now happened. It’s not the season. It is at least three months, maybe four.

“Santi wanted to have a chance to come back quickly so he didn’t want to last too long for 25 opinions. He decided to go straight away.

Shattering blow: Coquelin could be out for six months with knee ligament damage

Shattering blow: Coquelin could be out for six months with knee ligament damage

“The guy said, ‘Look, it’s a clear case – it’s a rupture of the external knee ligament.’ And he said, ‘Okay, let’s do it straight away.'”

Cazorla’s injury raises fresh questions about the midfielder continuing to play on in the final minutes of Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at Norwich eight days ago.

Wenger admitted afterwards that the Spaniard was effectively “playing on one leg” but kept telling his manager that, with all three substitutes used, he was able to finish the match.