Arsenal have been dealt a major blow ahead of their Premier League season opener against Brentford, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette both ruled out.
The Gunners are looking to fire their way back into European contention after a disastrous 2020/21 campaign saw Mikel Arteta's side miss out on continental qualification for the first time in 25 years.
But their opening day trip to Premier League new boys Brentford will now be that much tougher after The Athletic revealed that Aubameyang will not feature because of illness, while Lacazette is also not available for the same reason.
This leaves Arteta short of trusted options up front, particularly as several possible replacements have only just returned from international duty. Bukayo Saka has featured sparingly in pre-season after helping England reach the Euro 2020 final, while Gabriel Martinelli played for Brazil's gold-medal-winning Olympic team.
Willian and Reiss Nelson are the forwards that have featured most prominently in recent weeks but neither has experience of playing through the middle. This could mean that the highly-rated Folarin Balogun is handed his Premier League debut.
The United States-born striker was prolific for the Under-23s last season, managing nine goals in 18 games in the Premier League 2. He was also handed some minutes in the Europa League, where he netted twice in five appearances.
Eddie Nketiah might have been in contention for a start too, if he did not get injured against Chelsea recently. Nketiah is not Arteta's only absentee either. Thomas Partey picked up an ankle injury in the Chelsea game and will sit out, while Gabriel is still rehabbing a knee problem.
Arsenal are keen to add to their squad before the transfer window closes at the end of the month. 90min understands that Martin Odegaard is their top target and they are also closing in on a deal for Aaron Ramsdale.