LONDON • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that key midfielder Santi Cazorla has undergone knee surgery and will be sidelined for up to four months.
The 30-year-old Spain international was injured early in the second half of Arsenal's draw at Norwich last month but remained on the pitch for the rest of the game.
It was unclear at first whether the former Malaga star would have to go under the knife.
But Wenger has since confirmed that Cazorla will be missing until March after having surgery on a ruptured ligament on Friday.
SANTI A KEY ABSENTEE
Here is a look at how Santi Cazorla compares to the rest of the Arsenal midfielders in the Premier League this season before he got injured.
Passes 1,148 (1st)
Pass success 90.3% (2nd)
Forward passes 360 (1st)
Chances created 37 (2nd)
Assists 3 (2nd)
Tackles 25 (2nd)
Distance covered 141.8km (1st)
"We know now. It has happened already. It is at least three months, maybe four," said the Frenchman.
"Santi wanted to have a chance to come back quickly so he didn't want to last too long for 25 opinions and he decided to go straight away.
"The guy said: Look, it's a clear case, it's a rupture of the external knee ligament. And he said: Okay, let's do it straight away."
Cazorla's misfortune could be a blessing in disguise for Aaron Ramsey, who has been keen to play in the central midfield role.
Said Ramsey, who scored in Saturday's 3-1 win over Sunderland: "We've been hit hard by injuries this season but it gives players the opportunities to take."