Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski out for 10 weeks

Germany striker suffering from hamstring injury, Gunners confirm return of Mathieu Flamini

Thu, Aug 29, 2013, 12:29

Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski could be out of action for up to 10 weeks with a hamstring injury, manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed.

The Germany international, who scored twice in the 3-1 Barclays Premier League win at Fulham last weekend, hobbled off during a 2-0 defeat of Fenerbahce as the Gunners progressed to the Champions League group stage draw.

Tests have revealed Podolski is now set for a prolonged spell of rehabilitation, which will further stretch Wenger’s already depleted squad.

Wenger said: “It is bad news about Lukas Podolski as he will be out for eight to 10 weeks. His hamstring is much more damaged than we thought at the start.

“It is very disappointing and we have paid a very heavy price for that win [over Fenerbahce]. We have to be patient now.”

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey scored twice against the Turks, but finished the match on the bench with a groin problem after Arsenal had used all three substitutes, while Jack Wilshere’s fragile ankle was a cause for concern after he was the victim of some meaty tackles.

However, Wenger suggested both men should be fine for Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham. “The news is quite positive. They just had bumps and bruises. They will be involved.”

Midfielder Mikel Arteta and captain Thomas Vermaelen continue their recovery. Wenger added: “Arteta is doing okay, but there are few weeks to go with him. Thomas Vermaelen could be back after the international break.”

Arsenal are expected to move ahead of the September 2nd transfer deadline, with Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria one of several targets.

France midfielder Mathieu Flamini has rejoined Arsenal. The 29-year-old, who made 153 appearances for the Gunners from 2004 to 2008, returns to the Emirates Stadium after five seasons in Serie A with AC Milan, having become a free agent earlier in the summer.

Wenger is confident versatile Flamini — who played at left-back in the 2006 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona — will settle quickly into life back at his old club, having spent some time training at their Hertfordshire base this month.

“We are very pleased Mathieu has agreed to rejoin us,” Wenger said on www.arsenal.com. “He is a player of real quality, with a fantastic work rate and great mentality. “As we know, Mathieu is a strong midfielder, but is also is comfortable playing in defence too. He is a very good addition to our squad.”