Belfast Telegraph

Wilshere injury the latest blow for Wenger and Arsenal

Arsenal's early season crisis deepened last night as Jack Wilshere joined under-pressure manager Arsene Wenger’s injury list on the day Samir Nasri's transfer to Manchester City finally went through.

Wilshere has been diagnosed with a long-term ankle problem that will rule him out of action until well into next month.

The misfiring Gunners, without a Premier League goal this season, go into tonight’s second leg of their Champions League qualifier protecting a 1-0 lead against Udinese in Italy.

Failure to reach the money-spinning group stages will further turn the screw on Wenger’s 15-year reign with fans’ growing disenchantment set to be fuelled further by Nasri’s exit, following on from the sale of revered skipper Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona.

Wenger will be permitted to coach his side from the dugout tonight, with Uefa suspending his further two-match touchline ban while Arsenal's appeal is heard.

Nicklas Bendtner missed the Italy trip with an ankle injury and Henri Lansbury was left out.

Things are not about to get any easier with a visit to Old Trafford to face Man United on Sunday.

Having said earlier in the summer that if Arsenal were to sell both Fabregas and Nasri they could not consider themselves a big club, Wenger re-positioned himself yesterday.

He said: “A certain player can be worth a lot of money today and nothing in six months so it doesn't look completely logical, but we were forced into a decision like that for psychological and financial reasons.”

Having negotiated deals of around £60m Fabregas and Nasri, Wenger will have a week to try to strengthen his squad.

Targets such as Yann M'Vila, Eden Hazard and Marvin Martin are all expected to reserve judgement until tonight's result.

Phil Jagielka, as the Everton manager David Moyes said last week, has not pushed for a move.

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