Budding Arsenal striker Stephy Mavididi has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a serious injury that will require surgery. The 18-year-old, who was loaned to Charlton Athletic on the final day of the January transfer window, was stretchered off during the latter stages of a 1-0 League One defeat to Bury last Saturday (25 February).
A subsequent scan and specialist appointment revealed that Mavididi, a prolific scorer for Arsenal's U23 and U21 teams who has yet to make his senior Gunners debut, had sustained a torn hamstring. Such a significant blow is expected to keep him out for as many as four months and brings his promising stint at The Valley to a disappointingly premature end.
"He saw a specialist last night and he's set for an operation at the start of next week, but it will keep him out for between 14-16 weeks," revealed Charlton manager Karl Robinson. "He's been in tears which is sickening because he's been tremendous for us and we wish him all the best."
Under-fire former MK Dons stalwart Robinson hinted at another potential deal for England U19 international Mavididi in 2017-18, adding: "He's been a credit to his family and to Arsenal FC and we'd love to have him back next year."
Mavididi made his Charlton debut as a late replacement for Ricky Holmes in a 1-1 draw at AFC Wimbledon on 11 February. He started three matches against Oldham Athletic, Oxford United and Bury and was also deployed as a second-half substitute in a six-goal thriller at Rochdale. He did not manage to find the net in five total appearances.
The Addicks are already without former West Ham United centre-back Roger Johnson, who has similarly been lost for the season. Jason Pearce and Harry Lennon are edging closer towards making their respective returns, while Adam Chicksen was expected to return to training today (2 March) after a ligament strain. January arrival Jake Forster-Caskey, meanwhile, could be sidelined for up to four weeks with a grade-two hamstring problem.
Speaking after 15th-place Charlton's winless run was extended to seven matches courtesy of a third straight defeat to Shrewsbury Town, Robinson admitted there were deep problems.
"For too long too many people have dodged bullets, and the manager has always been the one who gets it in the neck," Robinson was quoted as saying by BBC Sport. "I have to take responsibility as well, because I am the manger, and so do my staff, but ultimately we are not going on the pitch. We've not won enough games on the pitch. It can't be [down to] six, seven, managers. It can't be the lack of funds that have gone in. At some stage players have to stand up and be counted."