Andre Santos
Olympique Marseille's Azpilicueta challenges Santos of Arsenal during their Champions League match in Marseille. REUTERS

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be without Andre Santos until March after it emerged the Brazilian left-back will undergo surgery on an ankle injury.

Santos, 28, suffered ligament damage to his right ankle in last week's 3-1 Champions League defeat to Greek side Olympiakos.

The injury was initially thought to be a minor strain that would rule the Arsenal defender out until the New Year. However, a scan revealed the damage to be much greater than previously thought and the left-back has returned to Brazil for surgery.

"Arsenal Football Club can confirm that, following investigations and subsequent medical opinions by club specialists, left-back Andre Santos will have surgery to repair ligament damage in his right ankle sustained in the game against Olympiakos last week," a club statement said.

"Andre will have surgery in Brazil this week and is expected to be out for around three months. Everyone at the club [Arsenal] wishes him well."

Wenger now faces a defensive crisis ahead of a hectic festive period with Santos, Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson all currently injured.