Arsenal have been dealt a blow with the news that Mikel Arteta could be out for up to six weeks with a thigh injury.
The full extent of the Spanish midfielder's problem is still to be discovered, but Gunners manager Arsene Wenger did at least receive a boost regarding the fitness of Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey ahead of their Premier League opener at home to Aston Villa.
Walcott limped out of England's 3-2 friendly win over Scotland with a knee injury while Ramsey did not feature for Wales at home to the Republic of Ireland due to an ankle problem.
"(Thomas) Vermaelen is out, (Nacho) Monreal is out and Arteta will be out for this game tomorrow as well.
"That is the three main injuries we have at the moment. Monreal is not far from coming back. Arteta and Vermaelen are a bit longer," Wenger said.
"It could be as long (as six weeks for Arteta), but honestly we don't know yet. We have to check the severity with the doctor. I haven't talked to the doctor."
The Gunners have yet to land a high-profile signing this summer, with France Under-21 striker Yaya Sanogo (below), on a free transfer from Auxerre, the only new arrival so far as the protracted pursuit of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez drags on.
Given Wenger has also jettisoned several fringe players this summer to free up the wage bill, Arsenal could find themselves somewhat stretched in terms of numbers ahead of their crucial Champions League play-off against Fenerbahce.
Wenger added: "I don't disagree that we are a bit light at the moment. There are 18 days to go until the end of the transfer market and we are of course looking to strengthen our squad."
Arsenal failed to land Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain earlier in the summer, and it appears they will need to up their bid for Suarez to closer to £50million to have any hope of move the negotiations on.
Wenger refused to be further drawn on the saga.
He said: "Look, I don't want to come out on any specific name because that would not be right. Usually in the press, you are well informed.
"Ideally you would want it to be quicker, but to finalise any transfer you need the agreement of three parties. You can see from our main rivals that it is not easy.
"I understand every frustration, you have so many frustrated people" - Arsene Wenger
"At us, Chelsea, Man United, it is difficult to find the quality players to strengthen the team and the squad who are available at the moment, but there are a shortage of top, top, top players who are available.
"We look more for quality than for numbers. The first request is to have the quality to play for Arsenal Football Club. Yes, we would like two or three players, if possible more, but we will not compromise on the quality of the players.
"I understand every frustration, you have so many frustrated people, but what is important is the quality of what you do on the pitch, so let's not create a crisis from nothing.
"We just played a good game last week (to beat Manchester City 3-1 in Helsinki), so let's transfer that to the next game and not start to convince everybody that the quality of the team that starts tomorrow will be linked with the number of players we buy between today and tomorrow.
"The quality of the team will be linked with the performance of every player who plays tomorrow."
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