LONDON -- Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has admitted Thomas Partey's injury record is a "big concern" as the midfielder faces another spell on the sidelines with a muscular problem.
The 30-year-old suffered his latest setback in training on Monday last week ahead of Arsenal's Champions League win at Sevilla. Further tests are due to take place but sources have told EasyChamp that there are fears within the club that Partey could be sidelined until December.
According to data from Transfermarkt, Partey missed just six games in five years for Atletico Madrid prior to his £45 million ($54.8m) move to Emirates Stadium in 2020. However, Partey has now suffered his ninth injury in his three years at the club, sitting out more than 50 matches for Arsenal and Ghana.
Asked about Partey's overall fitness, Arteta said: "He is a big concern because when Thomas is fit and available and he's been part of the team, we have seen what the results and the impact that he has on the team. This season we have more protection, especially for that reason as well because we know in the past two seasons what has happened and the impact that it had on the team so we had to address that.
"Now it's happened and it happens in football. I'm so sorry for him because I think he's doing every single thing that he can do right to be there, he was gutted. We are all for him, he needs to lift himself up again with our support and go again because he is a player that is critical for us.
"I think that he will be out for weeks, I don't know how long but he's got another appointment today and we will see more after that."
Arteta was more upbeat over the prospect of Gabriel Jesus making a return ahead of schedule after suffering a hamstring injury against Sevilla. The striker was initially expected to be ruled out for several weeks but having previously returned from a knee problem ahead of schedule this season, Arteta said: "With him I am not going to put any [timeframe] because I did it once and I got it totally wrong.
"We need to be cautious because we need to treat him in the right way but he is already pushing everybody, he wants to be back as quickly as possible and we need him so that is great."
Although Arteta is expected to rotate his selection heavily in Wednesday's Carabao Cup fourth-round tie at West Ham United, it remains possible that Declan Rice could make his first appearance back at London Stadium after leaving in a £105m deal this summer. Rice spent a decade at West Ham after joining the club aged 14 following his release from Chelsea's academy. He lifted the club's first major trophy in 43 years on his final appearance for the Hammers when they beat Fiorentina in June's Europa Conference League final.
Asked if he expected Rice to receive a warm reception from West Ham supporters, Arteta said: "I would say so and I hope so. Especially because every time you hear him talk about West Ham and what they did for him and everybody at the club, he cannot speak any more highly. Hopefully, it will be the same way towards him.
"He can be involved [tomorrow], it would be his first time back there at his old club and a beautiful moment for him. I think its beautiful, I had the experience to do it a few times and then you really see what they think of you and what you left at that club.
"It's really good way to measure your experience and the reality of your reality with the people who shared those moments with you."