Arsene Wenger has confirmed Mikel Arteta will miss Arsenal's season opener against Aston Villa with a thigh injury and could be out for up to six weeks.
Arteta, 31, was a key player for Arsenal last season, making 43 appearances in all competitions for Wenger's side.
But the Spaniard, who signed for the Gunners from Everton in 2011, is to miss the beginning of the 2013-14 Premier League campaign with a torn quadricep.
When asked whether Arteta’s injury is likely to keep him out for up to six weeks, Wenger outlined his concern.
"It could be as long as that, but honestly, we don’t know yet," said the Frenchman, who confirmed he will also be without defenders Nacho Monreal and Thomas Vermaelen for Saturday’s Premier League opener against Aston Villa.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Wenger said he was uncertain how long the midfielder will be out for, while admitting his squad is increasingly threadbare.
Arsenal have so far only signed French youngster Yaya Sanogo from Auzerre, and on Friday it was confirmed they have missed out on the signature of Luiz Gustavo, who has joined Wolfsburg from Bayern Munich.