Arsenal have been dealt a blow after learning Hector Bellerin will miss the start of next season due to ongoing concerns with his knee injury.
In January Bellerin underwent an operation on the anterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee, having been carried off in a match against Chelsea.
An initial diagnosis had Bellerin ruled out for ‘six to nine months’, and it is now reported by the Evening Standard that the player will not return in time to feature in pre-season and will remain sidelined as the new Premier League campaign begins.
Arsenal have been dealt a blow after learning Hector Bellerin will miss the start of next season
Bellerin was removed on a stretcher during the Gunners’ 2-0 win over Chelsea in early January
Arsenal are understood not to want to rush the 24-year-old back too soon, in order to avoid a recurrence.
In March, Bellerin himself revealed a set-back in his rehabilitation, describing the pain he had been going through to supporters via a video on his official YouTube channel.
‘The other day, I was sleeping without the cast. Sometimes when I sleep I just have to move my legs in a spasm,’ said the Spaniard.
‘I had a spasm, woke up in the morning and had pain in the back of my knee. I went to rehab and told them but they said it’s normal.
Initial diagnosis suggested Bellerin could have returned in time for pre-season training
‘I’ve had surgery two weeks ago, so I thought nothing of it. So I thought nothing of it but this morning it was painful again.’
The latest development comes as a blow to manager Unai Emery, who has allowed veteran full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner to leave the club.
Emery faces entering the transfer window on a vastly reduced budget, following Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the Champions League and receive a financial windfall as a result.
As reported by Sportsmail, the Gunners will only have a budget of around £45million this summer, despite the squad being heavily in need of investment.
Selling players would enable Emery to supplement his transfer budget, and offloading Mesut Ozil is seen as a possibility to the restrictions.
The update is bad news for manager Unai Emery, who has a paltry transfer budget this summer
The German’s £350,000-a-week wages are proving a crippling burden on the club’s finances, particularly given that he is now on the periphery of Emery’s team.
Yet moving on Ozil is likely to prove difficult, due to the astronomical wages and the time remaining on his current contract.
Arsenal have freed up some space on the club wage bill following Aaron Ramsey’s free transfer to Serie A champions Juventus.