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Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi could be out of action for the long-term after being withdrawn with a suspected torn ligament in Germany’s World Cup qualifier with Azerbaijan.
According to Sky Sports, the 25-year-old went to ground clutching his right thigh and groin. He was brought off by manager Joachim Loew, who admitted after the game that Mustafi might have sustained serious ligament damage.
“It doesn’t look good, it looks like he had torn a ligament. We’re waiting for a full diagnosis, but it looks like he will be out for a while,” said the 57-year-old.
Mustafi needed treatment on the pitch before he left the field 10 minutes before half-time. He was eventually replaced by Mattias Ginter. The Arsenal man was rested in Germany’s last game prior to the Azerbaijan meeting, but was only brought back as Loew opted for a three-man central defence on Sunday.
His absence is potentially an even bigger blow for Arsenal as Laurent Koscielny and Calum Chambers are also reportedly suffering with knocks ahead of Saturday’s Premier League meeting with Watford, meaning Arsene Wenger isn’t blessed with many viable defensive options.
Mustafi had been a regular for the Gunners this season too, making five appearances in the league and one start in the Europa League. He came close to a summer departure to Inter Milan back in August, but his short-term future appears to be at the Emirates Stadium.
When supporters will see him back on the pitch, however, is another question. The Gunners might be forced into a formation change if their first-choice centre-back pairing are unavailable for Saturday’s trip to Vicarage Road.