EXCLUSIVE: Vermaelen out for two months after having Achilles surgery on Monday
Published 01:00 06/09/11 By John Cross
Thomas Vermaelen has delivered a devastating new injury blow to Arsenal.
The Belgian defender underwent surgery in Stockholm on his left Achilles yesterday – and could be out for two months.
It is a hammer blow for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after losing midfielder Jack Wilshere for up to three months.
MirrorFootball revealed last week Arsenal were worried about Vermaelen’s latest injury which is on the other leg to the Achilles injury which kept him out for almost all of last season.
Vermaelen took a kick on his leg during the Udinese game nearly two weeks ago which forced him out of Arsenal’s humiliating defeat at Manchester United.
Centre half Vermaelen pulled out of Belgium’s squad and Arsenal wanted to see if the injury calmed down but took a decision to operate quickly rather than risk a repeat of last season.
Arsenal nursed Vermaelen through last season and eventually ended up operating so this time they want to solve it quickly.
Vermaelen is hoping to be back quicker than two months and Arsenal will be anxious for a speedy recovery as he is regarded as one of the best centre halves in the Premier League.
Vermaelen’s latest injury setback is the reason why Wenger suddenly decided to sign Brazilian left back Andre Santos before the transfer window shut.
Wenger was planning to use Vermaelen at left back in some away games but signed Santos for £6m from Fenerbahce to compete with Kieran Gibbs over fears about his unlucky centre back.
Arsenal will now be hoping that new German signing Per Mertesacker will slot straight into central defence but the Vermaelen blow is devastating.
Meanwhile, Wenger suffered another blow yesterday when his two game Champions League touchline ban was upheld after an appeal to UEFA.
Wenger was adjudged to have broken rules of an original ban against Udinese and will now miss the Group games with Borussia Dortmund and Olympiacos.