Mikel Arteta is considering whether to return to the transfer market after new signing Jourian Timber suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury and admitted he had “huge concerns” about the heavy fixture schedule at top level which had contributed to the high number of injuries.
Timber collapsed in the 50th minute of the league opener against Nottingham Forest after initially receiving treatment shortly before half-time.
It is understood that the damage occurred on the way to a challenge with Brennan Johnson but Timber showed no immediate signs of discomfort on the field or in the first half.
Timber has passed the tests he’s given during the break but it’s not always conclusive. Having impressed since his move from Ajax in the summer, his enthusiasm to keep playing saw him return in the second half but his knee quickly faltered as he dropped backwards.
The Dutch defender is now set to undergo surgery with an exact timetable for his return uncertain, but it is an isolated ACL injury with no collateral damage to the other ligaments.
“Big blow,” said Arteta. “Especially for him after joining the club. The injury he has is a big blow to the team because we recruited him with clear intentions. What he was bringing to the team was clear and he wouldn’t be able to do that this season for us. We have to adapt. Unfortunately these things happen and we have to move on.
“He (reacted) very well to be honest. He’s a special character. He knows he’s starting to realize how much injury he has and how much time he’s going to have. But he’s in a good place. We’re willing to help him obviously and be close to him but we know it’s going to be a long journey.” “.
Arteta has had a huge boost in this window, signing Timber, Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and goalkeeper David Raya.
Timber’s injury robs him of a versatile option and he has not ruled out adding another player to make up for the £35m man’s absence.
“We didn’t plan for this injury. We have to evaluate the options we have, who are the best players we have because my challenge, as I said, is to get the best out of the players we have,” Arteta said.
“I can’t rate anyone who isn’t here. We are always open and we have to be open as well to respond if something happens, not only because of injury but if something happens in the market as well. That’s what we do.
“It’s never my decision, it’s a decision we make with the club and it has a lot of elements in it. My focus is on getting the best out of my squad and we’re open to the transfer window both ways as we still have things to do both ways, maybe.”
Timber adds Christopher Nkunku and Tyrone Mings to the list of players ruled out with serious knee injuries at the top level of the game.
Arteta has expressed concerns about the busy fixture schedule at elite level and believes there could be a connection to why so much happened by August.
“Also (Emi) Buendia, (Thibaut) Courtois, it happened to (Eder) Militao too — there’s something there,” he said.
“In the past you could say, yes there were games, and there were tours too. But with the games, the tours and the World Cup in January, plus this, plus that, plus the internationals. It’s a lot. It’s too much for the players.
“It’s very difficult, when you see the next 36 months of the calendar for these players, it’s best not to look at it because it’s unbelievable what they’re going to do.
“We have to take care of them but, as a club, when do you take care of them? To prioritize other competitions?”
“So we are the ones who have to take care of them. What we really need is for us to sit down, but I think it’s too late, at least for the next 36 months, it’s already too late.
“I don’t know who should raise their voice here but there are concerns, huge concerns about that.”
Arsenal’s options without Timber’s injury – and what it could mean for Tierney
(Photo: Visionhaus/Getty Images)
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