Lukas Podolski will be absent for the start of Arsenal FC's UEFA Champions League campaign after Arsène Wenger revealed that a hamstring injury is more serious than expected, while Mathieur Flamini has re-signed for the club.
The 28-year-old Podolski was taken off 49 minutes into Tuesday's 2-0 play-off win against Fenerbahçe SK with his manager predicting that he will be absent for around two months, which would mean he misses the first three matches of the group stage. "It is bad news about Lukas Podolski as he will be out for eight to ten weeks," said Wenger. "His hamstring is much more damaged than we thought. We have to be patient now."
Aaron Ramsey also looked to be in trouble after sustaining an injury late in the Fenerbahçe game, but Wenger insisted that he and Jack Wilshere will both be available for Sunday's north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur FC. "They just had bumps and bruises," explained the Frenchman. "They will be involved." Wenger also hopes to be able to call on Mikel Arteta (thigh) and Thomas Vermaelen (back) by matchday one.
Midfielder Flamini, meanwhile, returns to north London as a free agent after his contract with AC Milan expired at the end of last season. The 29-year-old Frenchman played 153 times for the club between 2004 and 2008, when he moved to Italy, and was part of the side that reached the 2006 UEFA Champions League final, spending much of the campaign playing at left-back.
"We're very pleased Mathieu has agreed to rejoin us," said Wenger. "He is a player of real quality with a fantastic work-rate and great mentality. As we know, Mathieu is a strong midfielder, but he is also is comfortable playing in defence too. He is a very good addition to our squad."
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