In pre-season, Arsenal thought they had solved one defensive problem with the signing of Jurrien Timber from Ajax in a big-money long-term deal. However, fast forward a few weeks and the Gunners have another issue after the Dutch international suffered an anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Could Arsenal dip into the transfer market to replace their recent signing?
Timber sustained the problem early into the second half of the 2-1 Premier League victory over Nottingham Forest last weekend. Arsenal do have alternatives options in this area of the pitch, but given the 22-year-old will spend several months out of action, the club effectively may plan as if they didn't sign him in the first place. No doubt various targets have already been identified.
Arsenal will of course support Timber in his recovery, especially with him only weeks into his tenure with the club. Although seen as more of a centre back and right back during his time with Ajax, boss Mikel Arteta selected Timber against Nottingham Forest in a left back position.
This injury could open the door for Takehiro Tomiyasu to enjoy an extended run in the team, but the fact Arteta targeted this area over the summer may suggest he doesn't have maximum faith in the former Bologna full back. Also, the future of Kieran Tierney has been a major talking point for some time, and wasn't even named in the squad last time out, although did feature in the Community Shield. He has been linked with various clubs this summer.
Arsenal also have Jakub Kiwior as an option at left back, whilst Oleksandr Zinchenko is still out of action having not featured for the club since May. The club therefore could dip into the market to solve this issue, and here are three possible transfer targets the club may focus on before the upcoming transfer deadline.
Arsenal possible Timber replacement – Mohamed Simakan
The RB Leipzig defender is a player that Arsenal have had a supposed interest before, prior to signing Timber. It was reported by Ed Aarons of The Guardian that the club had an interest in the player, although that seemingly went quiet when it became apparent that Timber would be a viable option. Simakan is versatile, which is always a big tick for any manager. The Frenchman has played at centre back and right back.
Previously with Ligue 1 side Strasbourg, Simakan only recently signed a new contract with RB Leipzig until the end of the 2026/27 campaign, so financially it could be quite an expensive deal for Arsenal to make. Whilst the player would surely be interested, financially it may not be a good fit for Arsenal, especially as Timber will be back at some point.
Arsenal possible Timber replacement – Benjamin Henrichs
A team mate of Simakan at RB Leipzig is Benjamin Henrichs, who is another player Arsenal have been touted with before. Sky Sport Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg advanced on indications from Kicker that the Premier League side engaged in talks with representatives of Henrichs, with Arteta a fan of the 26-year-old German. He is mostly a right back, but he too can play in a number of roles, such as wing back and central midfield.
Henrichs started RB Leipzig's impressive 3-0 German Super Cup victory over Bayern Munich recently, with Simakan featuring in central defence. Harry Kane made his debut in that clash as a second half substitute. He has spent the last three seasons with the Bundesliga club and is also enjoying more regular game time with the German national team.
Arsenal possible Timber replacement – Joao Cancelo
Arsenal are certainly no strangers to doing business with Manchester City, and Arteta may look towards his friendship with City boss Pep Guardiola as one way of getting this deal to happen. It is no secret that Joao Cancelo wants out of the club after a breakdown in relationship with the manager, and ended last season out on loan with Bayern Munich.
A move to Barcelona is one possibility for the Portuguese full back, who is capable of playing right back or left back, but remaining in the Premier League with a serious title contender may also interest him in a big way. Spanish publication SPORT claims that Arsenal are indeed in the market for Cancelo, but the club would have to sell players first, such as Tierney. They'll have to be quick though, as Barcelona retain a very serious interest.
It is still a big decision for Arsenal to make. They are likely to be without the services of Timber for the entire season, so they are going to have to juggle their squad in terms of perhaps letting some go and getting another one or two in for Arteta to be completely content.
The goalkeeper position was recently boosted by David Raya joining from Brentford. Arteta wants strong competition across his whole squad, so we may see a few defenders through the Emirates Stadium doors. The Spaniard is certainly very forthright in what he wants, and he won't rest up he gets it, as they look to seriously challenge for the title once again.