Arsenal will intensify their search for a new centre-back after an injury to Gabriel left Arsene Wenger facing a defensive crisis ahead of the season opener with Liverpool.
Gabriel suffered suspected ankle ligament damage in a friendly against Manchester City yesterday and looks certain to miss the game at Emirates Stadium yesterday.
It leaves Wenger without a recognised senior central defender for the start of the Premier League campaign. Per Mertesacker has been ruled out until the end of the year with a knee injury and Laurent Koscielny is also expected to miss the game.
Koscielny is back in training after an extended break following Euro 2016 but Wenger is reluctant to rush him back into action. Calum Chambers and new signing Rob Holding are the only alternatives at centre-back and Wenger will now step up his search to sign some cover. Arsenal are interested in Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi and have been linked with a surprise move for Jonny Evans from West Brom.
Chambers made just two League starts last season and it remains to be seen whether Holding is ready for first-team football following his move from Bolton. One option could be to drop Francis Coquelin into central defence.
Arsenal, who beat City 3-2 in Sweden, will be without Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck for their opener, while Jack Wilshere is a doubt.