The 2023/24 Premier League campaign kicked off for real last weekend after another year of most clubs organising pre season campaigns that were heavily abroad dominated for marketing and financial reasons, and in amongst some ridiculous summer transfer window spending again (but this time a few domestic deals creeping over the £100 million mark as that now becomes a thing), we have also seen a very early spate of serious injuries kicking in for the players.
Arsenal have become the latest club to confirm that one of their players will now be out for the foreseeable future. Summer signing from Ajax, Jurrien Timber, limped off in the 50th minute of their tie on Saturday against Nottingham Forest with what looked like a major problem. On Wednesday, having fully completed their investigations, the club confirmed that the 22 year old had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury, and would now undergo surgery before the end of the week.
A statement explained that he ‘will be out of action for a period of time’ without giving a strict timeline for his spell on the sidelines, adding.
“The support and expertise from our medical team and everyone at the club will now be focussed on Jurrien’s rehabilitation programme, to ensure he recovers well and is back playing as soon as possible.”
Timber himself admitted that hope was high initially about the severity of the issue, but he was left feeling ‘gutted’ when investigations showed that it was ‘more serious than expected’.
The £34 million signing officially made his debut in their penalty victory over Manchester City in the Community Shield, but the Forest clash was his Premier League debut and depending on the true state of the damage he suffered, and then any subsequent unknown complications, Arsenal fans may not see him for around about the next nine months as he completes his recovery period and then rebuilds his fitness.
Despite only being one game into the new season, it is not just Arsenal fans who might not see a player for up to nine months, as the top flight seems to be going through a weird period of serious knee and leg related injuries right now and Timber is simply the latest to be confirmed, but he was not alone on suffering such an issue on Saturday.
On Tuesday, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola confirmed that Kevin De Bruyne was out for four months after lasting 23 minutes in their game with Burnley. Chelsea’s Christopher Nkunku (a £52 million signing) is out for ‘an extended period’ after his own knee surgery. Aston Villa have lost both Emi Buendia and Tyrone Mings, who was stretchered off against Newcastle, to long term issues as well.
Injuries like this happen every season, but it is rare to see so many in such a short space of time, however, Raphael Varane (Manchester United) has been misrepresented in the reports covering this issue where he stated greater injury time would damage the game, he did correctly point to the number of games played.
Varane’s injury time comments are utterly irrelevant, but his number of games comment is something clubs (particularly those who insist players now spend even longer travelling and playing in completely different environmental conditions during pre season) may want to consider.
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