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Giroud out until 2015 after surgery

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that striker Olivier Giroud had surgery on an injured tibia and will be out of action for the rest of 2014.

Wenger revealed the news that he would be without one of his star strikers after his side's 1-0 Champions League play-off second-leg victory against Besiktas on Tuesday.

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"Olivier Giroud had surgery today. It went well but he will be out, for maybe top competition, until end of December or beginning of January," Wenger told Sky Sports News.

The France international suffered a small fracture near his ankle after the ball smashed into the sole of his boot, forcing his foot towards his shin in the dying minutes of Arsenal's 2-2 draw at Everton last Saturday.

"We will look around but we want quality. We have quality, we have Walcott coming back soon, Podolski, Campbell, Sanogo. To find players better than we have would be very difficult," said Wenger about the prospect of finding a replacement for Giroud.

Alexis Sanchez provided some good news to offset the injury news about Giroud. The Chilean striker scored his first goal as a Gunner to help put Arsenal through to the Champions League group stage.

"Any time you have a problem you can't always buy. I bought Sanchez to be a striker, Walcott can be a very good striker, Sanogo is a very good striker, Campbell, if you ask him what he is, he says a striker. All players of quality."

Wenger previously said he would not panic buy in order to replace Giroud's presence up front. However, former Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic's agent claimed his client had been offered a contract by the Gunners.

Despite the Giroud news, Wenger could at least celebrate Arsenal's progression to the group stages of the Champions League on a night of high anxiety at the Emirates Stadium that saw Sanchez open his Gunners' account.

The Chile striker operated as a lone striker and claimed the vital goal which enabled Arsenal to progress into the group stages of European football's premier club competition for a 17th successive season on the stroke of halftime.

- Report: Wenger inquires about Zigic
- Video: Giroud injury scare
- Johnson: Arsenal grab last UCL seeding spot

"It is unthinkable until it happens and then everyone thinks 'why did it happen?''' Wenger said on the thought of his side not reaching the group stages.

"It is a weight off our shoulders now because we can focus on the Premier League, wait for the draw. We feel we have done the job and we have a clear conscience."

Arsenal had to finish the match with 10 men after Mathieu Debuchy was sent off for collecting a second yellow card.

Wenger added: "I was very worried because you never know as we have some players on the edge physically.

"I thought it was very harsh because Debuchy played the ball and maybe with the anger from our side on the bench we saw he played the ball. The referee was on the other side."


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