Arsenal will have to hustle to resolve their latest injury issue, which might be protracted and upsetting for supporters and Mikel Arteta both.
How long is Jurrien Timber out of commission?
The news of Jurrien Timber’s injury devastated the Gunners earlier this week.
The Dutchman, who was purchased just last summer for a fee of £38 million, was pulled off after 50 minutes of their Premier League opener against Nottingham Forest.
The defender was brought in for his versatility, as his ability to play at both right-back and center-back provided crucial depth for a club that was plagued by injuries at times last season.
However, The Athletic suggest that he is set to be out for a “lengthy period of time”, with tests upcoming to determine the exact length. The Daily Mail suggests he’ll be out for a minimum of six months.
So, it makes sense that the potential replacement for the Dutchman could come in a similar mould, with Fabrizio Romano once again claiming on Tuesday that they remain interested in Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte.
What makes this deal even more tempting is the fact that he will reportedly cost just £30m, but with Saudi Arabian clubs now sniffing, this is a switch which must be fast-tracked.
How good is Aymeric Laporte?
Although more capable of deputising at left-back as well as centre-back, such a move will still offer a similar amount of cover with far more experience.
After all, the 29-year-old has had a hand in five Premier League title wins, as well as numerous domestic honours. He would add plenty of trophy-winning know-how into a young dressing room, brimming with enough talent to challenge for elite titles this campaign.
Since joining in 2018, the Spain international has gone on to feature 180 times for the Citizens, often starring despite falling down the pecking order more recently.
In fact, during the 2021/22 term, the former Athletic Bilbao stopper posted some exceptional numbers in the passing department, notably a 95% pass accuracy, via Sofascore.
Such form even before this had led Pep Guardiola to suggest: “he is the best left-sided centre back in the world”.
Journalist Bill DiFilippo even outlined his steely nature too, to complement his technical prowess, simply claiming: “Laporte is a warrior”.
Although losing Timber is certainly a devastating blow, his proficiency in possession can be matched by the qualities of Laporte. Although, Kees van Wonderen, a former coach of his, did give a glowing recommendation that would suggest he’d be far from easy to emulate:
“He’s a team player, technically skilled, he’s self-confident and one of the best aspects that combines everything is how he reads the game. He knows how to defend, he knows how to attack, he knows how to find the spaces, he knows how to face opponents in how they press.
“Some players you need to tell them things over and over again, but he understands really quickly. He combines his technical ability with his mindset and his tactical awareness on the pitch. That’s so important in the modern player.”
Despite this, whilst the Dutchman ranks in the top 1% for progressive passes and progressive carries per 90 when compared to other centre-backs across Europe, funnily enough so does the former Guardiola favourite.
Although not the perfect stand-in, there are enough similarities to suggest that this would mark an intelligent piece of business by Arteta to pad out a squad with strong title ambitions this term.