Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be forced back into the transfer market to sign a striker in the next six days after learning that Olivier Giroud's ankle injury is much more serious than first thought, with the centre-forward breaking a bone in his left foot and now facing at worst 12 weeks on the sidelines.
French publication L'Equipe believe that the results of Giroud's scan carried out at Arsenal's London Colney training ground have delivered devastating news for Wenger, who must now attempt to sign a last-ditch replacement or risk leaving the Gunners seriously short of options at centre-forward for the next three months.
L'Equipe believe Wenger's shortlist of potential alternatives includes some genuine world-class stars, with Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao alongside more realistic Premier League figures in Loic Remy and Danny Welbeck.
Immediate Champions League dilemma
Before Wenger can turn his attention to the frantic search for a new striker he must prepare Arsenal for tomorrow night's crunch Champions League qualifier against Besiktas, with the tie goalless following a nervy first leg in Istanbul last week.
Wenger may well have to hold fire on Lukas Podolski's proposed exit or take a gamble on Yaya Sanogo's fitness for that clash, particularly with Alexis Sanchez struggling to convince in a central role against Everton last weekend.
If Arsenal come through that tie to secure Champions League qualification for the 17th consecutive season Wenger will turn his attention back to the transfer market, with deals for a centre-forward and centre-back his immediate priorities.
Remy the most realistic
Gunners fans may be desperate for Wenger to launch headfirst into a £51m deal for Cavani or even an expensive loan move for Falcao, but more realistic, short-term fixes lie closer to home.
Giroud's international team-mate Loic Remy looks a viable option for the Gunners, particularly if the clause forcing Queens Park Rangers to a Champions League club for under £10m still applies.
Welbeck meanwhile has been intensely linked with a move away from Old Trafford over the last 48 hours, with new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal not convinced that the England international is ready to play a key part in his Old Trafford revolution.
It remains to be seen if United would be willing to let Welbeck join a direct title rival and particularly at such short notice, but Wenger is definitely in the market for a new centre-forward and only has six days to get a deal over the line.
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