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Arsenal's Hector Bellerin sidelined for up to nine months with knee injury

Arsenal's Hecto Bellerin has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament Credit: PA

Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin could be sidelined for up to nine months after rupturing knee ligaments in Saturday's win over Chelsea, the Gunners have confirmed.

Bellerin went down unchallenged during the second half of Arsenal's 2-0 victory and was carried off on a stretcher.

The 23-year-old was making his first start since mid-December having overcome a calf problem but will now miss the remainder of the season, and possibly the start of the 2019/20 campaign.

Arsenal revealed the severity of Bellerin's injury on Tuesday morning with a statement on their website.

"Further to the injury sustained during our match against Chelsea on Saturday, we can confirm that Hector has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee," it read.

"Hector will undergo surgery to repair this in the coming days. The rehabilitation process is expected to take between six to nine months and therefore rules Hector out of action for the remainder of this season.

"Everyone at the club will now be working as hard as we can to ensure Hector is back on the pitch as soon as possible next season."

Head coach Unai Emery said after the Chelsea game that Bellerin could have an "important" injury and that the initial prognosis was "not positive".

Bellerin's Arsenal team-mate Rob Holding suffered a similar injury in a 2-2 draw at Manchester United on December 5.

While the January transfer window would allow Arsenal to bring in cover at right-back, Emery does have options in Stephan Lichtsteiner, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Carl Jenkinson - who was expected to be allowed to leave the Emirates Stadium this month before Bellerin's setback.

Bellerin rubbishes Arsenal exit talk

Credit: PA

Hector Bellerin insists he is "very happy" at Arsenal as the full-back continues to be linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium.

The 23-year-old has reportedly drawn long-term interest from the likes of Juventus but looks set to stay put.

He signed a six and a half year contract in 2016 and has developed through the Arsenal ranks to become a key member of their squad.

Bellerin, who has been handed the number two shirt ahead of the new season, has now moved to rubbish questions over his future.

"It is crazy that people ask me these questions all the time," he told the London Evening Standard.

"A few years ago I signed a very long-term contract. I have never said that I have wanted to be anywhere else.

"I am very happy in London. I am very happy at this club.

"The club have made me who I am and gave me the chance to be the footballer I am today. So I don't want to be anywhere else."

Bellerin will face stiff competition at right-back from new recruit Stephan Lichtsteiner this season as head coach Unai Emery looks to hit the ground running after replacing Arsene Wenger in May.

Switzerland skipper Lichtsteiner joined on a free transfer from Juventus, with goalkeeper Bernd Leno, defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos and midfield duo Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira also signing for the Gunners this summer.

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