Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny will be out for six months after undergoing surgery on a ruptured Achilles, writes James Olley.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger this morning described the 32-year-old as “devastated” when confirming that an operation is necessary to cure an injury sustained in last Thursday’s Europa League semi-final exit at Atletico Madrid.
It is understood the procedure was scheduled to take place on Tuesday. Koscielny will miss the World Cup with France but has a chance of resurrecting his Arsenal career under Wenger’s successor given his present contract runs until 2020.
“Koscielny is of course devastated because he has surgery,” said Wenger. “That means he will be out for six months. You will not see him before the end of December, or maybe the beginning of December at best. It’s certainly the final year he would play for the national team, but you never know.
“We always try to be positive. Overall, you can only try to support people when they suffer because of course they suffer from a situation like that. What is unusual in his case is that he had a tendon issue for a long time and usually they don’t rupture. That is a bit surprising in this case, where people with inflamed tendons don’t rupture, but in his case it went. I don’t know why.”
Koscielny has required daily treatment for more than a year while managing a longstanding Achilles problem but Wenger is convinced he will return better than ever.
“The recovery will be full because the advantage of the surgery is that it heals the inflammation, which people don’t do usually because of the fact you move always.
“Sometimes people have surgery when they don’t need it and they think, ‘oh it has healed’ and it has healed basically because they didn’t move. On that front, it is no problem [for Koscileny], he will cure.”
Arsenal face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday and will be without Mesut Ozil due to a back problem, prompting fresh criticism over his commitment to the club.
Former Gunners defender Martin Keown claimed in the wake of Arsenal’s defeat in Spain that the midfielder was “picking and choosing” matches he played in.
“Football players are not like that,” said Wenger. “I can understand that because you are all positive spirits who see everything negatively, but when he’s injured, he’s injured.
“It looks like that sometimes when a player can get over the pain for one game, but then after that there’s a recurrence of inflammation. That’s what happened to him. He wanted to play on Sunday. It was an enjoyable game to play but at the moment he’s injured.”
Ozil recently signed a new contract worth £350,000-a-week and Wenger added: “I think it is a good investment and the player is top quality. He has gone through a difficult patch now because he is always in and out but once he is back in a consistent way he will have a huge influence.”
Wenger also confirmed that Santi Cazorla will not play this season despite hopes the midfielder would be handed a late cameo on the final day of the season at Huddersfield, having not made a first-team appearance since October 2016 due to Achilles and ankle problems.