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Arsenal have four immediate Bukayo Saka replacements amid injury scare after £82m transfer swoop

Mikel Arteta might have to do without Bukayo Saka when Arsenal welcome FC Zurich to the Emirates Stadium in the Europa League on Thursday night


The sight of Bukayo Saka limping off against Nottingham Forest was the one downside of Arsenal’s 5-0 win at the weekend.


Having claimed an assist for Gabriel Martinelli’s goal which broke the deadlock, the England international’s afternoon was curtailed just before the half hour mark as following two rounds of treatment from club doctor Gary O’Driscoll the decision was made for him to be replaced.

A stunning Reiss Nelson cameo in addition to goals from Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard ensured the Gunners didn’t miss a beat without Saka but, as expected, fans were slightly more concerned with the 21-year-old’s injury rather than returning to the top of the Premier League table.

It’s not just Arsenal supporters sweating on the winger’s fitness ahead of games against FC Zurich, Chelsea, Brighton and Wolves this month but England manager Gareth Southgate too as the Three Lions begin their World Cup campaign against Iran in just under three weeks’ time.

Now, there has been some positive news regarding the winger since the Forest game finished. Firstly, Mikel Arteta delivered the following update: “Hopefully not,” he replied when asked if Saka is a doubt for the World Cup. “It was a bad kick. Right from the beginning he was limping, but I don’t see any further than that. Let’s see how he is in the next couple of days. I think both [foot or ankle]. He got kicked a few times and he wasn’t comfortable.”

And, as per our friends at the Mirror, the fact that Saka was able to leave the Emirates Stadium on Sunday walking freely as well as being spotted in the players’ lounge afterward could be an indication that he has not suffered a major blow. Furthermore, the report states that Arsenal will assess his fitness and make a final judgment ahead of the final Europa League Group fixture against Zurich on Thursday night.

Whilst the north London outfit need a result against the Swiss opposition to avoid a knockout play-off round fixture against a third-placed Champions League team when the competition resumes in the new year, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Saka isn’t risked with the Chelsea game three days in mind.


Should Arteta take this approach then thanks to spending £82m in the summer transfer window, three of four immediate solutions to replace Saka against Zurich are staring him right in the face. Fabio Vieira’s versatility has been spoken about in great detail following his arrival from Porto as he is an option out wide as well as in central midfield.

“We are already trying him in different positions in training,” Arteta told, when asked what position he saw the 22-year-old playing. “He’s played on the left, right, as a false nine and an attacking midfielder, so it’s good. He doesn’t want to be locked in any one position because he’s so used to it, and that’s a really positive thing for us.”


Fellow summer signing Marquinhos has already caught the eye against Zurich this season, scoring and claiming an assist on his first competitive appearance for the club on matchday one, whilst Gabriel Jesus can operate as a right-winger having done so under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Beyond those three players, Nelson appears favourite to get the nod if Saka doesn’t feature on Thursday. After all, the 22-year-old seized his opportunity with a brace and assist against Forest and deserves another start as Arsenal look to win their Europa League group.


Bukayo Saka injury latest: Chelsea ‘return’, time frame, World Cup chances, Mikel Arteta hope

The Gunners returned to winning ways on Sunday as they smashed Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, but an injury to Bukayo Saka means it wasn’t a completely ideal weekend for the North Londoners

Arsenal returned to winning ways on Sunday as they put five goals past Nottingham Forest to earn another huge three points to their total in the Premier League. The victory keeps them top of the league heading into November, edging even closer to the mid-season break for the World Cup.

While it allowed the side to get that winning feeling again after a tough couple of games, there was one huge problem coming out of the clash. That was the injury to Bukayo Saka, who limped off after suffering problems with both his ankle and his foot in the first half of the match.

With the youngster only managing 27 minutes, there have been some concerns about his availability for the huge sets of games coming up before and including the World Cup. With that said, here’s a look at the latest on the youngster’s injury.

Arteta’s time frame


Discussing the issues Saka faced, manager Mikel Arteta said he was hopeful that he would return soon, giving a time frame for when he would know more about the injury. Speaking to reporters, the Spaniard said: “Hopefully not [out for the World Cup]. It was a bad kick. Right from the beginning, he was limping, but I don’t see any further than that. Let’s see how he is in the next couple of days.”

Potential replacements


Should the England international be out for a while, Arteta will have to choose a replacement on the right-wing, a position the squad are light in after allowing Nicolas Pepe to leave in the summer. The No. 1 option could well be Reiss Nelson, who came on for Saka and scored a brace against Nottingham Forest.

Given that performance, he could force himself into the team, taking his opportunity with both hands when it has been presented to him. Another who could play out there if Gabriel Jesus, with the Brazilian moving out wide while Eddie Nketiah fills in as the central striker.

Upcoming fixtures

While the Gunners wait a few days for the full scale of the injury, the fixtures don’t stop coming thick and fast for them. Here’s a look at the upcoming fixtures that he could miss before the World Cup.

Europa League – FC Zurich (H) – November 3

Premier League – Chelsea (A) – November 6

Carabao Cup – Brighton (H) – November 9

Premier League – Wolves (A) – November 12

Huge boost


While there is caution around the Saka’s injury, the Sun are reporting that there is optimism that the winger could return for the side’s London derby against Chelsea next week. That is also boosted by the fact he managed to carry on playing for a period of time before his substitution, as well as leaving the stadium walking freely rather than in a protective boot.


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