Arsenal summer signing left out of Champions League squad, as Arteta selects outcast despite exit wish

Arsenal's manager Mikel Arteta reacts after Brighton's Julio Enciso scored his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion at Emirates stadium in London, Sunday, May 14, 2023

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Recent Arsenal signing Jurrien Timber has been omitted from the club’s 25-man Champions League squad due to his ACL injury, forcing manager Mikel Arteta to turn to a player who almost left in the summer.

Arsenal beat Premier League rivals Manchester United and Liverpool to Timber’s capture in July, tying him down to a five-year contract. The Gunners spent an initial £34.2million on the Dutchman, but the deal has the potential to rise to £38.5m through add-ons.

Arsenal fans were excited to see Timber represent for their club as he is a ball-playing defender who can operate as a full-back on either flank or as a centre-half.

But Timber sadly picked up an ACL injury on his Premier League debut against Nottingham Forest, a game Arsenal won 2-1.

He is expected to be out of action for seven months, which means he will not return until mid-March at the earliest.

Arsenal have now revealed their squad for the upcoming Champions League campaign, and Timber has understandably not made the cut.

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Instead, Arteta has included full-back Cedric Soares, who will provide competition and backup for the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ben White.

Cedric was expected to depart the Emirates in the recent summer transfer window, having only made four appearances for Arsenal last term and having spent the second half of the campaign on loan at Fulham. Indeed, on July 20 Arsenal insider Charles Watts explained to TEAMtalk how Cedric’s agent was actively pushing for a move.

Jurrien Timber out, Cedric Soares in

Villarreal were named as one of the 32-year-old’s prime suitors, but after Timber’s injury Arsenal decided to keep him around.

Timber could still play for Arsenal in the Champions League this season though, as clubs are allowed to amend their squads in January.

The full Arsenal UCL squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers – Aaron Ramsdale, David Raya, James Hillson

Defenders – Cedric, Lino Sousa, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ben White, Gabriel, Jakub Kiwior, William Saliba

Midfielders – Mohamed Elneny, Jorginho, Thomas Partey, Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard, Kai Havertz, Fabio Vieira, Emile Smith Rowe

Forwards – Leandro Trossard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Jesus

Arsenal begin their UCL campaign by hosting PSV in North London on September 20. They have also been drawn against Lens and Sevilla in Group B.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have ‘promised’ to bid for a £30m player in 2024, according to reports.