Arsene Wenger revealed Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny is "devastated" that he is set to be out of action for six months as he undergoes surgery on a ruptured Achilles.
The 32-year-old suffered the injury inside the opening 10 minutes of Thursday’s Europa League semi-final defeat at Atletico Madrid.
France defender Koscielny, who has been managing an issue with his Achilles for at least a year, is set to go under the knife on Tuesday afternoon and will miss this summer’s World Cup.
The defender left Atleti’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium on crutches and wearing a protective boot, with Wenger conceding after the game that it appeared to be a serious injury.
That has since been confirmed and Wenger revealed his compatriot could be out for almost all of 2018.
“Koscielny is of course devastated because of course he has surgery,” the Arsenal boss said.
“That means he will be out for six months. You will not see him before the end of December, or maybe the beginning of December at best.
“It’s certainly the final year he would play for the national team, but you never know. He now misses the World Cup as well.”
Wenger, who will leave Arsenal this summer after almost 22 years in charge, did say he was confident that Koscielny would make a full recovery and play for the club in the future.
“The recovery will be full because the advantage of the surgery is that it heals the inflammation,” he added.
“Sometimes people have surgery when they don’t need it and they think, ‘Oh it has healed’ and it has healed basically because they didn’t move and it healed the cause of the inflammation. On that front, it is no problem, he will cure.”
Wenger confirmed Santi Cazorla, who injured his Achilles in October 2016 has has not played since, will not be fit enough to feature in either of the last two Premier League games of the season at Leicester and Huddersfield.
The Spain international is finally back in training but Wenger said it would be “too much of a risk” to give him an outing before he is fully ready to return.
Mohamed Elneny’s ankle injury will see him miss the trip to Leicester while Mesut Ozil’s back problem is expected to keep him out of both games.
Reports on Tuesday suggested Ozil’s team-mates were becoming frustrated at how many games he misses through illness or with small injuries.
But Wenger insists those issues are genuine and that the Germany international is not merely hand-picking which games he wants to play in.
“I think it’s highly unlikely that he will play again before the end of the season because he doesn’t train,” Wenger added.
“When he’s injured, he’s injured. It looks like that sometimes when a player can overcome the pain for one game, but then after that there’s a recurrence of inflammation.
“That’s what happened to him. He wanted to play on Sunday. It was an enjoyable game to play but at the moment he’s injured.”