Thursday, December 7, 2023

Timber ACL confirmed + transfer market implications

Morning all.

Let’s start today with confirmation from Arsenal that Jurrien Timber has suffered an ACL injury, and will require surgery. The wording is a little vague, I guess, which gives me some slight hope. I don’t see the phrase ‘catastrophic rupture’ or anything, but I also think it’s just part of how we communicate these things now. The language was similar when we confirmed injuries to Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny, for example.

Now facing somewhere between 6 and 9 months out, Timber sent a message on Instagram saying:

Gutted to share my injury is more serious than expected, especially after the warm welcome I’ve received. I wanted to repay you on the pitch, which will not be possible for the forthcoming period. I’m blessed with a lot of great people around me, together we will do anything to get back as soon and strong as possible.

For now I’ll be supporting our team from the stands ofcourse. Thanks for making me feel at home in such a short period of time, see you at The Carpet  #coyg

At this point, all we can do is wish him the very best in terms of his recovery and rehabilitation. May it be as quick and uncomplicated as possible.

We’ll have to wait and see what, if anything, this means in the final weeks of the window. Timber’s arrival, along with the return to fitness of Tomiyasu, gave the squad incredible depth in defensive positions, and while I don’t think we’re necessarily short in terms of numbers, the fact that the Japan international and Oleksandr Zinchenko have consistently suffered injury absences might be a concern. I worry more about the latter than the former, to be honest. I think Tomi has been a bit unlucky, especially last season, but Zinky’s injury page on Transfermarkt is one of the longest I’ve ever seen. That’s not something you can ignore when you think about your squad for the season ahead – even in terms of how you minimise possible problems for him by managing his minutes. That means solid alternatives.

The potential disruption of continued interest in Gabriel from Saudi Arabia isn’t exactly welcome either, so it’s something that Arteta and Edu need to manage well in the next couple of weeks. Given the squad is still so heavy, my gut feeling is that if anything is to happen in terms of another arrival, it won’t be until some players depart. There are currently 33 players listed in our first team squad, and we have to name a set 25 for the season ahead once the window closes.

We’ve got to get busy selling and loaning before we splash any more cash – and that is surely dependent on finding the right player and the right deal. If push comes to shove, you could make a solid argument that Kieran Tierney could give you depth on the left if he stayed, but is that really what he wants? When you’ve been left out of the first squad of the season completely, having been a regular for so long, it probably makes your mind up about where you future should be, i.e – anywhere else. It’s funny how one injury can throw up so many complications.

Speaking of departures, there are stories linking Nuno Tavares with Nottingham Forest. There’s talk of it being a permanent deal with fee of around £12m mentioned which, if that were the case, is pretty decent. He did well at Marseille last season, although his relationship with the coach became a bit strained, and there’s clearly a very talented player in there – just not a left back for a team which plays with a back four (or deploys their left-back like we do). Captain Chaos to the City Ground. It could be fun.

Elsewhere, Ajax have signed former Gunner Chuba Akpom in a €12m deal from Middlesbrough. The Hale End graduate made just 12 appearances for us, totalling just over 200 minutes, and his career since then has seen him ply his trade for clubs like Brighton, Brentford, Coventry, Forest, Sint-Truidense VV, Hull City, PAOK Thessaloniki, and the aforementioned Boro. Now 27 he’s secured a move to one of Europe’s great clubs, and what a great story that is. Every player’s career is different, sometimes you just need a bit of a break here or there, but it does show if you keep plugging away, something can happen. Best of luck to him.

Right, let’s leave it there for this morning. Back tomorrow with a brand new Arsecast and lots more. Until then, take it easy.

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