Arsenal could reportedly rekindle their interest in RB Leipzig defender Mohamed Simakan following Jurrien Timber’s devastating anterior cruciate ligament injury.

The Gunners agreed a £38.5m deal to sign 22-year-old Timber from Ajax earlier this summer, and the Dutchman enjoyed a strong showing in their Community Shield win over Manchester City.

Following a successful competitive debut, Timber held his spot at left-back for the visit of Nottingham Forest in last weekend’s Premier League opener, as Oleksandr Zinchenko missed out with a calf problem.

However, the Netherlands international fell to the turf with nobody around him early in the second half, and scans have since shown an injury to the ACL of his right knee, ruling him out for a lengthy period of time.

Arsenal did not put a timeframe on Timber’s recovery, but the versatile full-back will undergo surgery in the coming days and is at risk of missing the rest of the 2023-24 campaign in a cruel blow to the start of his North London career.

Zinchenko’s imminent return to full fitness will soften the blow, while Jakub Kiwior, Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu are other backup options, but Arteta has suggested that his side could pursue another defender as cover for the injured Timber.

According to journalist Fabrizio Romano, Leipzig full-back Simakan is still a name on Arsenal’s wishlist, only a few months after the Gunners were tipped to bring him to the Emirates.

The 23-year-old rose to prominence at Strasbourg before joining Leipzig in the summer of 2021, and he has amassed four goals and nine assists from 79 matches since that £12.8m transfer.

Simakan has won back-to-back DFB-Pokal titles at the Red Bull Arena, and he provided assists in four successive cup games during the 2022-23 campaign before being benched for the final against Eintracht Frankfurt.

However, Simakan played the full 90 minutes in Leipzig’s 3-0 Super Cup success over Bayern Munich last weekend, and he has been deployed as a right-back and centre-back for Marco Rose’s side.

The ex-Strasbourg man is yet to make an appearance for the senior France team, but he has earned seven caps at Under-21 level and started two of their games at the recent Under-21 Euros.

Simakan was apparently earmarked as Arsenal’s ‘Plan B’ if their pursuit of Timber did not bear fruit, but he could prove to be an expensive acquisition, as he signed a new contract until 2027 back in December.

In addition to Simakan, Arsenal have been tipped to move for out-of-favour Manchester City pair Joao Cancelo and Aymeric Laporte, the former of whom has been frozen out of Pep Guardiola’s squad.

Meanwhile, Laporte has been bumped further down the pecking order by Josko Gvardiol, although both Al-Nassr and Real Madrid are also battling for his signature.

Arsenal will aim to make it two wins from two in the 2023-24 Premier League season when they meet London rivals Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday night.

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