Mikel Arteta feared Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka could be out for longer than three months

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has admitted he initially feared Granit Xhaka’s injury would keep him out for even longer than the three months he is expected to miss.

Xhaka injured his knee during last Sunday’s win over rivals Tottenham and is now set to be sidelined the rest of the calendar year.

The midfielder underwent assessment, which showed he did not need surgery as he had hurt his medial knee ligament.

Arteta had at first worried Xhaka could have injured his cruciate ligament, which would have led to a much longer lay-off.

“Obviously, it’s really bad news personally for Granit. He’s had a couple of incidents already this season with Covid, with suspension and now with long-term injury,” said Arteta.

“He’s a strong man and he will use this time to focus on other things and I’m sure he will be back in the right place when he’s back.

“It’s obviously a significant injury but he probably escaped an even worse injury than he could have had from the action because that action for the cruciate ligament is a tricky one. It’s what it is. His mentality is top.

“He knows what he needs to do now. Hopefully, he can escape surgery as well. That is something that is really, really important and after that start preparing himself in the best possible way because time flies.”

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