£80,000-a-week Arsenal defender will miss rest of the season

The Spanish manager has confirmed that Kieran Tierney is set to miss the remainder of the London giants campaign due to injury. The 23-year-old defender was forced off with a knee problem in the Gunners 3-0 defeat to Liverpool last Saturday.

On Sunday evening, Granit Xhaka was deployed at left-back in Kieran’s absence as Gunners sealed a 3-0 win against Sheffield United. Mikel Arteta was buoyed by Xhaka’s performance against the Blades and has suggested that the Swiss midfielder may get more playing time in that unfamiliar role.

And the Arsenal boss also revealed that Tierney’s campaign could be over. ‘Xhaka had a specific role today for the game because we believed they were going to try to do something, and he had the right qualities to develop that role,’ said the Spanish manager.

‘It’s a joy to work with him because you’d ask him to play as a centre-forward and he’d say, ‘yeah, yeah, I’ll do my best’. That’s the player you want. Today he had a really strong performance, and it gives another option. Kieran is out, probably for the season, so we need different options in that position and Xhaka can be one of those.’

He added: “I think for Thursday, David Luiz will be out, Kieran Tierney will be out – and then Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard, we don’t know yet. With Bukayo Saka, let’s see how he develops in the next few days.’’

Gunners injuries are stacking up at the worst potential time, but their win against Sheffield United sees them move back up to ninth in the table, and they still have an outside hope of qualifying for next campaign’s UEL via the PL.