Arsenal have fears that new signing Jurrien Timber could be set for a long spell on the sidelines, after being withdrawn with a knee injury on his Premier League debut.
The Dutchman joined from Ajax for around £34m this summer and became an instant hit, impressing in both the Community Shield and in his Premier League outing against Nottingham Forest.
However, Timber was substituted early on in the second half with what appeared to be a knee injury, and although there is no official confirmation yet, there are now fears that he has suffered ligament damage and could be absent for a while.
A report from Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail has revealed that Arsenal have “major concerns” over his injury, and that he could be out for a period of months rather than just a few weeks.
This is a huge blow for both the player and the club, as Mikel Arteta’s plans over the versatile defender’s place in the team will now have to be changed.
What should Arsenal do now?
Whilst it will still be a few days before a timescale is given on the injury, there may need to be a change in transfer plans if he is out long-term.
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Kieran Tierney has been linked with a move away, but the left-back could be kept as an option given Timber’s injury. Timber’s ability to play across the back line was useful, but if Tierney now stays, Arsenal will have enough options at left-back with the Scotland international, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jakub Kiwior.
Midfielder Thomas Partey started as a right-back against Forest, a position he rarely appeared in before the final weeks of last season, and this gives Arteta extra flexibility when it comes to his fullback options.
Assuming Tierney stays and Arteta continues to trust Partey at right back, then there will be enough defensive depth whilst Timber is out, although there may now be internal consideration of entering the transfer market if Timber’s injury keeps him out for the foreseeable future.