Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker to miss early Premier League games

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker is set to miss the early Premier League games in the 2016-17 season after sustaining a knee injury.

The centre-half, likely to be Arsenal’s new captain in the upcoming season, went down during a friendly match against Lens.

Mertesacker, 31, did not travel with the rest of Arsenal’s squad for their two-match tour at the US. He made 24 appearances as the London club finished runners-up last season.

Speaking during a press press conference before the club’s friendly against the MLS All Stars, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed that Mertesacker would miss a “few months” of action.

Mertesacker’s injury leaves Wenger short in defensive players. French international Laurent Koscielny has been given an extended break after Euro 2016, having played for France up until the tournament final.

The other regular centre-back, Gabriel Paulista, currently struggles with tonsilitis.

However, Wenger could compensate for the German’s absence by playing club newcomer Rob Holding. Holding had joined Arsenal from the Bolton Wanderers for a fee believed to be around £2m last week.

Calum Chambers could start with Holding in the centre of defence when Arsenal play a team that features Kaka, Didier Drogba, Andrea Pirlo and Clint Dempsey on Friday at the Avaya Stadium, the home of the San Jose Earthquakes.

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