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Van Persie faces five months out

Arsenal forward Robin van Persie will undergo ankle surgery in Amsterdam next week and is expected to be sidelined for up to five months.

Arsenal forward Robin van Persie will undergo ankle surgery in Amsterdam next week and is expected to be sidelined for up to five months. The 26-year-old suffered torn ankle ligaments during Holland's goalless draw against Italy in Pescara on November 14 and was initially expected to be out for between four and six weeks. But the Gunners' medical stuff have since reviewed the injury and its treatment and concluded he must go under the knife, and is now not expected back until April at best. The loss of Van Persie is a massive blow to the Gunners, as he was in such good form. The Dutchman has tried radical methods including massage using placenta in Serbia to get back into action.

A club statement today read: "Robin van Persie returned to Arsenal on November 22nd following an ankle injury sustained whilst on international duty with Holland. "The injury was expected to keep him out of action for between four and six weeks. "Upon his return, the Arsenal medical team conducted a thorough review of his scans, his early injury management and the treatment he had received. "Having scrutinised these in detail and assessed the response of his ankle, the club's medical team concluded that further investigation and opinion was required. "Advice was sought from the leading ankle specialist Mr Niek van Dijk, who confirmed that more extensive damage had been suffered than was first diagnosed.

"In order to repair his ankle, Robin will undergo surgery next week in Amsterdam to reconstruct the ligaments. The club's medical team anticipate that a full recovery will take between four and five months." Van Persie is currently Arsenal's leading goalscorer in the Premier League this season, with seven goals. He has also found the net once in the Champions League. * PA Sport