Let’s not dress it up any other way, the injury to Jurrien Timber is a devastating blow to Arsenal just one game into the new season.
It’s rare to see a new signing transition into a team as smoothly as Timber has done following his move from Ajax earlier in the summer.
The Dutch intentional was the star of pre-season and looked ready to take the Premier League by storm.
But now, just one game into the new season, it is looking far from clear whether we will see the 22-year-old again during the 2023/24 campaign.
We’re still waiting for full confirmation on the extent of the injury Timber suffered to his right knee in first half stoppage time on Saturday afternoon, but Arsenal are fearing the worst ahead of ‘further detailed assessment and review’ with consultants later this week.
If Timber is ultimately ruled out for the majority of the season, first and foremost that will be a hammer blow to him.
This is a player who has just arrived at a new club. He had pushed to land his dream move this summer and he had got what he wanted.
He had settled in well and was already making a massive impact.
Now while his new team-mates are looking forward to the rest of the Premier League season and huge Champions League nights, he is facing up to months and months in the treatment room and away from the rest of the squad.
For an experienced player who has been at a club for a long time that would be tough to take, for a young player just getting used to a new team, a new league and a new country, that will be devastating.
And for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta it’s equally as disappointing.
Timber gave the manager quality, depth and versatility. If the worst is confirmed, then that has now been taken away in the blink of an eye.
Arteta now basically has the same defensive options available to him as he did last season.
Will that be enough? Only time will tell.
At the moment he still looks relatively well stocked. But a couple of further injuries in quick succession, such as we saw with William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu last season, and that all can change.
Some are suggesting that Timber’s injury means that Kieran Tierney should stay, but I can’t really see that.
I still think if a decent offer comes in for Tierney that the club will let him leave.
Remember Timber has been signed as a right-back. He was only playing over the left against Forest because of the absence of Oleksandr Zinchenko.
With Zinchenko coming back and Tomiyasu and Jakub Kiwior in the squad, I can’t see this injury changing Arsenal’s thinking when it comes to Tierney.
And I’d be surprised if they go back into the market to sign a replacement, unless a really interesting option suddenly falls into their lap.
With White, Tomiyasu and Partey as options as right-back, I think the club will feel they have enough to cope without Timber.
They do now also have Declan Rice, who could drop back into defence at times if need be and that could allow Arteta to shuffle his pack further.
There is no getting away though from the fact that this is a huge blow.
In Timber, Arsenal signed a player who gave them real depth, who gave them real technical quality and versatility and who gave them the option to shift systems and formations whenever they wanted.
Now they look set to have to prepare for life without him for a long, long time.
There will be a lot of focus on why he was allowed to come back out for the second half, but Arsenal insist all the necessary checks were done.
I’d be surprised if those couple of minutes made any difference anyway, although clearly it’s not a great look for the medical team.
Elsewhere, we’re still waiting on confirmation of David Raya’s move from Brentford.
From the player’s side, everything is done and he has been at Arsenal to sort out everything that he needs to sort out. My understanding is he will wear the No.22 shirt.
It’s just a matter of the two clubs completing the final few details on the structure of the deal. Once that is done, all will be confirmed.