By Editor Wayne Veysey
Arsene Wenger has claimed that rookie defender Calum Chambers can fill the midfield gap left by Francis Coquelin’s lengthy absence.
Speaking at his media briefing on Monday ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League clash against Dynamo Zagreb, Wenger confirmed that, as revealed by Football Insider on Sunday afternoon, Coquelin will be out until 2016 with a knee injury.
The Arsenal manager was reluctant to put a date on the midfielder’s return but said he will be out for “at least two months”.
It is huge blow for Arsenal ahead of a glut of fixtures as they attempt to keep their Premier League title bid on track and progress to the Champions League group stages.
But, as revealed by Football Insider, Wenger confirmed Aaron Ramsey is fit to return against Dynamo. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also closing in on a comeback.
Asked about Coquelin’s injury on Monday, Wenger said: “I’m always cautious. It will be at least two months but I don’t want to speculate more than that. We have had so many bad surprises on the scans.”
The Arsenal manager, who will also be without Mikel Arteta as well as long-term midfield absentee Jack Wilshere for Tuesday’s Champions League showdown, revealed he may use defender Chambers as an emergency midfielder.
He said: “We have players that can play in [Coquelin’s] position. Chambers has been educated in that position.”
However, Wenger will consider signing a replacement if the Frenchman is ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.
He explained: “I’ll do what’s needed in January even though in January it is not an ideal transfer market.”