Arsenal’s Héctor Bellerín to miss rest of season with ruptured cruciate ligament

David Hytner on 21 January 2019

Héctor Bellerín’s season is over after he was diagnosed with a ruptured cruciate knee ligament and the Arsenal right-back faces a battle to be fit for the beginning of the next campaign.

Bellerín collapsed in agony during his team’s 2-0 win against Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on Saturday and he now has the headline result in terms of the damage. But there could be yet more bad news for him as he waits to learn whether he has damaged the meniscus and other parts of the joint.

The 23-year-old Spaniard had only just returned from a four-week lay-off because of a calf injury and the Chelsea game represented his return to the starting lineup. He has been left devastated by the setback and he must now begin what will be an arduous road back to full fitness.

Bellerín will seek further medical opinions over the coming days which will help to place an exact time-frame on his absence. But a cruciate rupture normally involves a minimum of six months out.

Unai Emery had said after the Chelsea game that the damage looked bad and the Arsenal manager must plan without one of his most influential players for the foreseeable future. Emery noted he had Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Stephan Lichtsteiner to cover in the position while he also mentioned Carl Jenkinson as a possible option.

Emery is on record as saying that his room for manoeuvre in the January transfer window will be limited to loans, at best. The club spent £63.8m in net terms last summer to try to drive a return to the Champions League.

Arsenal have already suffered horror injuries to Danny Welbeck and Rob Holding this season. Welbeck wrote off his ankle in the Europa League tie against Sporting in November while Holding ruptured his cruciate knee ligament against Manchester United in the Premier League the following month.

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