Arteta ‘open’ to ‘reacting on the market’ after ‘huge blow’ leaves Arsenal fearing similar 22/23 title fate

Jason Soutar
Mikel Arteta looks anxious as Jurrien Timber leaves the pitch with a knee injury.
Mikel Arteta looks anxious as Jurrien Timber leaves the pitch with a knee injury.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta refused to rule out delving back into the transfer market after losing Jurrien Timber to a torn ACL.

Timber is expected to miss the vast majority, if not all, of the 2023/24 campaign after undergoing surgery on his right knee due to an injury suffered during the Gunners’ Premier League opening day victory at home to Nottingham Forest.

This is obviously a huge blow to Arteta’s plans this season. Already in his short time at the club, the 22-year-old has operated very effectively as a left-back, right-back and central defender.

Signing from Ajax for around £40million last month, Timber’s versatility and ability are a huge boost to Arteta’s backline which suffered without William Saliba as his side failed to win the Premier League after a poor run of form during the latter stages of last season.

Arteta admitted Timber’s absence is a “huge blow” and says he is “open” to buying another defender to cover for the Dutch international.

“Huge blow,” the Spanish manager told reporters on Thursday morning. “Especially for him after just joining the club.

“We recruited him with clear intentions and what he was bringing to the team was evident

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“I’m more thinking about the resources in the team to do what we want to do. But it’s true he was giving us a lot on both sides.

“We are always open and we have to be open as well to the injuries but also to react to the market.

“It’s never my decision. It’s a lot of people. My focus is on getting the best out of the squad right now. That’s my aim.”

Many expected Arsenal to be finished in the transfer window after landing Brentford goalkeeper David Raya.

Using the signing of Raya as an example of why it is important to have cover in every position, Arteta once again hinted he will look to sign cover for Timber.

“We want two players for every position,” he added. “We saw what happened to Jurrien, it can happen to our goalkeepers. We have to be prepared, we have to be proactive.

Arteta also noted that the hectic fixture list – both in pre-season and the competitive season – is “too much for players” and is contributing to the vast amount of ACL injuries in football.

“It was [Aston Villa’s Emiliano] Buendia, it happened to [Real Madrid’s Thibaut] Courtois and [Eder] Militao,” Arteta noted.

“It’s something that in the past where there’s been games and tours. With the World Cup and the tours, it’s a lot.

“It’s too much for the players. When you see the next 36 months for the players it’s better not to look at it. As a club when do you look after them. I think for the next 36 months it’s too late. I don’t know who needs to raise a voice on that.”

Arsenal take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in a London derby on Monday and Arteta confirmed Gabriel Jesus will not be fit.

“Hopefully we’re going to have [Oleksandr] Zinchenko soon. Gabi still not available and fit, but hopefully we’re going to have him soon.”

Meanwhile, Arteta will be watching a Women’s World Cup final between “two teams that are related” to him with his home nation, Spain, taking on England.

“I support in general the World Cup and those two teams that are related to me,” he said.

“It’s just phenomenal what England have done in two consecutive tournaments. For Spain, I’m really happy as well. It’s a great way to show the spirit and characters of the Spanish people.”

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