London - Striker Danny Welbeck's absence from the Arsenal team will go on for several more months after he underwent surgery on his injured left knee, the Premier League club said on Thursday.
The England striker has not played since damaging the knee after coming on as a late substitute in a 0-0 draw with Chelsea on April 26, and there is no date yet fixed for his return.
Although manager Arsene Wenger said he hoped the striker would be ready for the pre-season Emirates Cup warm-up tournament, he was not fit enough to play and the club said in a statement the decision for him to undergo surgery was taken last week.
Arsenal's statement read: "Danny Welbeck has undergone surgery on his left knee after being unable to sufficiently step up his rehabilitation work.
"The striker has been working throughout the summer to recover from the injury sustained at the end of April.
"It had been hoped he would avoid surgery but, after increasing his training workload, the injury to his cartilage did not respond as well as hoped.
"The decision was taken last week for him to undergo surgery by a leading specialist in the field. Danny is now expected to be out for a period of months."
Arsenal were the only club in any of the major European leagues not to sign an outfield player during the summer window which closed in England on Tuesday, a decision Wenger must now hope does not come back to haunt him.
Arsenal have started the season with two wins, a draw and a defeat in their opening four games, but have scored only three goals.