Jack Wilshere's spell on the sidelines looks set to continue after Arsene Wenger confirmed the player had suffered a setback on Monday during training.
The England international was instantly ruled out of tonight's Champions League qualifier against Udinese, but reports now suggest the player could be sidelined for at least six months.
Wilshere will also miss Euro 2012 qualifying matches for the Three Lions against Switzerland and Wales in September, and whilst it's a blow to Fabio Capello, it's Wenger who will miss the teenager most ahead of the crucial clash in Italy.
"It's not ideal for us on the day we sell (Samir) Nasri," said the Frenchman yesterday.
"He had a setback. It's a hotspot on the bone of his ankle that if you continue to play, it can lead to a stress fracture. So we had to stop him. He felt the first sign in the second half of the game against Switzerland. After that, during the holidays, it was all right and then his pain increased when we were on tour in Asia.
"We had two good test days on Friday and Saturday. Monday morning, we had a test with the squad and he felt it again."
Whilst the news doesn't come as a major surprise to Wenger, who had penciled the 19-year-old down as a long-term absentee, it's still another blow to the Gunners after an August to forget at the Emirates.
Cesc Fabregas has left the club, with Samir Nasri poised to follow, and the weekend defeat to Liverpool has left question marks over the club's potential this season. Wilshere will be key to the club's success, but Wenger knows that over-exposure last season has had an impact in his fitness at the start of the current term.
“For me Jack was always out long-term because he was out three weeks. It’s a hot-spot on the bone of his ankle so if he continues to play it can lead to a more serious problem. So we had to stop him,” continued Wenger.
“Maybe it is a consequence of last season, he was in the red like I told you and in fairness what nobody wanted to hear. We knew he was in the red in the last two months and we continued to play him because we had no choice."
“There’s no chance he will be fit for England. He’s in a boot now."