Arsene Wenger is hopeful of having Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott back in his squad for their Premier League match with Sunderland on Saturday (5 December) but says it is "possible" the club could be without Santi Cazorla until March. The Gunners lost France international Koscielny during their 1-1 draw with Norwich City on Sunday 29 November, the latest in a succession of injury blows to Wenger's plans.
That afternoon turned from bad to worse as Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla both picked up knocks with the Guardian suggesting the latter is facing three months out after suffering knee ligament damage.
Wenger is still unsure over just how long Sanchez and Cazorla, two of the club's most influential players this season, will be out for. But while he is hopeful the Chile international can recover quickly, he appears less optimistic over Cazorla.
"I don't know," Wenger told a press conference via Arsenal Player when asked on the severity of the respective injuries. "Sanchez is a hamstring problem but I don't know how long it will take. Usually he is a quick one to recover. Cazorla, we won't know until he sees a specialist. "
When pushed on the possibility of the Spain international facing three months on the sidelines, Wenger added: "A March return is possible."
Gunners deny Stones bid
Wenger remains hopeful however the players he does call upon to help fill the void. "Ideally you want them all with you, but we are prepared to deal with it. A big miss like players like that can be an opportunity for players to come in and show they have the quality and they can give a good impact for the team."
The Arsenal boss was also again pushed on the club's January transfer plans, a heightened concern given the recent spate of injuries to key players. The Daily Mirror claimed earlier this week Wenger had personally urged the club's board to make an offer for John Stones, who was the subject of a £30m bid from Chelsea during the summer transfer window.
Wenger swiftly dismissed such claims, however. "No. I haven't asked the board for Stones. I've asked players to focus on tomorrow's game. We are not after John Stones, we are focused on tomorrow's game."