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Arsenal’s £27million summer signing William Saliba will miss the next six weeks of the season after undergoing surgery.
The central defender, who will spend the 2019-20 campaign back on loan at Saint Etienne, had an operation on an adductor muscle injury earlier this week.
The 18-year-old Frenchman has been struggling with the problem since the end of last season.
Saliba was able to play in one pre-season friendly against Newcastle earlier this month but missed the Ligue 1 curtain-raiser last weekend at Dijon.
St-Etienne coach Ghislain Printant said: ‘Saliba had an operation earlier this week. We will take our time with his return.’
After putting pen to paper on a five-year deal with the Gunners last month, Saliba said: ‘Well, first of all, it’s a massive pleasure to sign for a really, really big English club.
‘This is the biggest club in England for me, so it was an easy decision. I didn’t think twice about signing here, so I’m really happy.’
Arsenal faced late competition from north London rivals Tottenham for Saliba’s signature but the Frenchman eventually opted for the Gunners.
When asked about why he wanted to join Arsenal, he replied: ‘Well, the history, the badge… since I was little, I’ve been watching Arsenal play in the Champions League and so on, and there are a lot of French players who have come through here. So that really helped me to make my mind up.
Manager Unai Emery added: ‘We’re delighted William is joining us. Many teams wanted him but he decided he wanted to come to us and be part of our future.
‘He will stay in France next season for more experience and then we look forward to him joining our group.