Shkodran Mustafi has given Arsenal a major boost after it was revealed his ankle injury is not as bad as first feared.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was concerned that he would lose centre half Mustafi for a long lay-off after he fell awkwardly and suffered a nasty-looking injury in their FA Cup win at Bournemouth.
But scans revealed that Mustafi only suffered a sprained ankle and he should return much quicker to ease Arsenal’s defensive injury problems.
They are already without Calum Chambers and Kieran Tierney to long-term problems while Sead Kolasinac has also been missing.
That might have pushed Arsenal into resurrecting a move for Flamengo defender Pablo Mari which could still happen if the clubs can agree a deal.
But Flamengo want a permanent £13million transfer while Arsenal would prefer to loan him with an option to buy in the summer.
Speaking after the Bournemouth victory on Monday night, Arteta admitted his concerns over the injury sustained by Mustafi.
"We'll be assessing him between today and tomorrow but when a central defender has to come off, hopefully I'm wrong, but normally it's not good news," said Arteta.
The Germany defender was carried off the pitch on a stretcher after landing awkwardly on his right ankle as Arsenal eased past the Cherries at the Vitality Stadium.
Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah struck to book Arsenal an FA Cup fifth-round trip to Portsmouth, while Sam Surridge slotted a late consolation for the Cherries.
Asked if Mustafi's situation could alter Arsenal's January transfer plans, Arteta added: "We have a very clear intention of what we wanted to do in the market with the resources we have.
"If we can do it that's fine but his fitness won't change that."