Oezil's out for just six weeks, not 12
FIRST, the bad news: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Mesut Oezil will be out for a significant period of time with a knee ligament injury, a problem that was discovered only when the midfielder joined the Germany squad for international duty last week.
Now, the good news: The club's record signing at £42.4 million (S$86 million) is expected to be out for only six weeks - half the time that the German Football Association (FA) had initially predicted.
Oezil, 26, first felt pain in his knee during Arsenal's 2-0 Premier League defeat at Chelsea on Oct 5, but Wenger told reporters yesterday that the German did not reveal the gravity of the issue at the time.
"I didn't even know about it. At half-time, just before we went out, the physiotherapist told me (Oezil) had a little pain in his knee but it's not bad and he wanted to go on," Wenger said.
"I told him, 'If you don't feel well, tell me and I will take you off straightaway' but he never did in the whole game and I left him on because we needed to find a goal."
Oezil then joined the Germany squad during the international break and the German FA confirmed that he had a partial ligament tear in his left knee. It added that "Oezil is likely to be (out for) 10 to 12 weeks".
"They described it as serious," Wenger said yesterday.
Besides missing tomorrow's match against Hull City, Oezil will be unavailable for upcoming games against Anderlecht and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, and Manchester United in the English Premier League.
Defender Laurent Koscielny will also miss tomorrow's match with an Achilles injury that kept him out of the France squad during the international break.
However, Theo Walcott, Mikel Arteta and Serge Gnabry have all resumed training after recovering from injury, and Aaron Ramsey will start training again next week.
England winger Walcott is set to make his first appearance in nine months in a Premier League Under-21 match against Blackburn Rovers today.
The 25-year-old has not played for the Gunners since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament during the 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup third-round match in January.