ARSENAL will go into the festive season with no recognised full-back after it was confirmed André Santos would be out of action for around three months with ankle ligament damage.
Arsenal have revealed that their left-footed Brazilian -- who had impressed in recent matches following his August transfer deadline move from Fenerbahce -- was set to have surgery in his home country after suffering the injury in his side's 3-1 defeat to Olympiacos in the Champions League last week.
Given Kieran Gibbs is not yet fully fit from his hernia problem, while both right-backs Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson are also sidelined, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger fielded four centre-halves along the backline in their 1-0 defeat of Everton on Saturday.
Young Spaniard Ignasi Miquel is another option, although the 19-year-old reserve captain's more natural position is also in the middle, and the club could now look to bring in some experienced cover, perhaps on loan, when the transfer window opens again in January.
Santos, 28, is not expected to be available until mid-March at the earliest.
A statement from the club said: "Following investigations and subsequent medical opinions by club specialists, left-back André Santos will have surgery to repair ligament damage in his right ankle.
"André will have surgery in Brazil this week and is expected to be out for around three months. Everyone at the club wishes him well."