Arsenal's injury woes in defence have continued, with Belgium international Thomas Vermaelen set to spend around six weeks watching on from the sidelines after undergoing surgery.
Vermaelen picked up an injury to his left ankle in the Gunners' Champions League qualifier against Udinese, and did not play any part in the club's 8-2 capitulation at Old Trafford against Manchester United as a result.
Vermaelen's father said his son flew to Sweden to have surgery on the problem on Monday. He told Sporza: "The doctor in Stockholm, where Thomas was operated on last time too, recognised the problem now. He would not take any chances and immediately operated on Thomas. He expects five to six weeks of unavailability.''
A statement on the Arsenal official website later confirmed: "Centre back Thomas Vermaelen is expected to be back in training with the first-team squad in around a month. Vermaelen has undergone a minor procedure to remove an inflamed plantaris tendon from his left ankle.
"This is the same treatment that he had on his right ankle in January this year and has nothing to do with his Achilles tendon. The action was taken after consultation with specialists who advised this was the best thing to do to prevent it becoming a persistent problem."
The news will come as a blow to Arsene Wenger, who has recently lost Jack Wilshere for up to three months with an ankle problem, while fellow central defender Laurent Koscielny was taken from the field during Arsenal's home loss to Liverpool.
Greater responsibility, and pressure, will subsequently fall on Arsenal's new recruits in Vermaelen's absence, with the likes of Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun, Andre Santos, Park Chu-Young and Per Mertesacker all making the move to the Emirates shortly before the close of the summer transfer window.
Arsenal will host Swansea on Saturday as they aim to get their Premier League campaign back on track.
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