Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is now facing the prospect of up to five months out of action after suffering a setback in his recovery from the ankle injury sustained against Manchester United.
The 22-year-old underwent surgery last month to solve a problem caused by an innocuous challenge from Red Devils defender Paddy Mcnair during November's 2-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium, and was expected to be sidelined until the end of January.
However, according to a report in The Sun today, the England international is now set to be unavailable for an additional eight weeks on top of his initial three-month diagnosis that will keep him out of first-team reckoning until March.
The news will come as a major blow to an already under pressure Arsene Wenger, who was forced to feel the full wrath of Gunners supporters after Saturday's 3-2 defeat against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
Arsenal had been enjoying a recent upturn in form after three successive Premier League victories and four consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, but the feel good factor in north London was swiftly forgotten after three first-half goals conceded against the Potters left Wenger's men with an uphill task of taking anything from one of their bogey grounds.
Now, rumours that Wilshere will in fact be out for even longer than first feared is likely to add to the ill-feeling amongst fans, many of whom have already given up on any chance of the Gunners following up last season's FA Cup success with more silverware in 2014/15.
Wilshere was actually playing some of the best football of his burgeoning career after seemingly overcoming a retched run of bad luck which has prevent him from putting together a consistent run of games for any extensive period during his time as a professional footballer.
There had even been talk in recent weeks that the £90,000-a-week star was set to pen a bumper new contract that will tie him to the club until 2020, but the latest hitch in his rehabilitation will surely raise doubts about the prospective deal that would've made Wilshere one of Arsenal's highest paid players.