If Arsenal sign Calafiori, what would that mean for Timber and Zinchenko?

As speculation about Calafiori joining grows, an intriguing team selection issue emerges. What does the Italian’s joining and taking over at left back imply for Jurrien Timber and/or Zinchenko?

When he returned from injury, you probably heard that Timber could reclaim his place in the Arsenal team as a left back. If Calafiori performs as well as he has in previous weeks at the Euros, he may easily take over as Arsenal’s starting left back. Given the expectation of Gabriel, Saliba, and White to maintain their positions, it’s unclear how Timber could fit into Arsenal’s lineup, although it is worth remembering that Arteta bought Timber last summer despite retaining Zinchenko in the squad.

But so if Calafiori arrived, would you be shocked if Jurrien Timber played a significant number of games as a defensive midfielder next season? After analysing his style of play, some believed he could excel in the left-back position due to his technical ability to invert into midfield and his versatility.

Many would criticise me for recommending Timber for a midfield position. But don’t you believe that this Arsenal team could use Timber as an element of surprise to catch their opponents off guard?

The Dutchman, who is technically gifted and is a brilliant footballer, adept on the ball with both feet, skilled, quick, and has very decent stamina to run up and down the pitch, might be another excellent alternative for midfield if needed, just as Zinchenko may have been last season?

It makes you wonder what Arteta has in mind….

Peter Rix


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Tags Calafiori Jurrien Timber Zinchenko


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  1. Raya
    Saliba Gabriel
    White Timber/Partey Calafiori
    Odegaard Rice
    Saka Williams

    This 11 has everything needed to win the league

  2. I don’t think it will affect Timber at all but I’m sure it would mean Zinchenko and Kiwior will be leaving us.

  3. Simple, competition.

    Arsenal don’t need to ship out anyone in defense, except for Tierney and Tavares, It will be 8 capable defenders. I’d keep Zinchenko his qualities and skill set are different from the other players we have, he’s good at unlocking low block defensive teams.

  4. Kivior can bounce. Maybe zinney if we need funds.

    Aside from that,! There will now be a good healthy defence that can rotate.

    Saliba doesn’t have to play every last game. Injuries will no longer be a worry.

    We need this problem in RW and ST

  5. Timber is a rb, cb and can play lb. I personally believe that had he not got injured havertz would have been playing the midfield role that arteta initially started him in. Timber can play the inverted role brilliantly, this would have allowed havertz more freedom in midfield – his role at leverkusen .

    Timber could be used in midfield, as could ben white , who last season was brilliant at the inverted role and had played midfield for Leeds.
    With the defenders we have there is alot of flexibility- which is key not just in today’s game but has been for decades, players like maguire offer just defending but no intelligence behind it , hence when united paid what they did made no sense . City saw in stones there was room for further development and he is comfortable on the ball etc.
    Zinchenko should be kept because – he should be a midfield option plus being able to bring a top player like him off the bench is the level we need ream wise.
    If we do sign calafori – I wouldn’t rule out arteta having a different role for him also – he won’t be coming to fight for a first team place – he will be expecting it otherwise there are teams he could easily where he will play immediately. I am still sceptical about this as we wanted locatelli, vlahovic and when juve got serious – they took them players. I still believe the turkey lb is probably the actual target – due to his flexibility, awareness and he can play as an option on the wing. Back to timber he could easily play the dm role, at ajax , half the time he was there even though he would start the game as cb or rb

  6. Calafiori would likely become our main LB, which might move Zinchenko up to the left-sided AM position

    Timber could be our alternative LB, that will allow Arteta to change his tactic in the second half of the games

    Timber could also compete with White for the RB role and become our third-choice CDM

    1. @Gai, I think Arteta would use Calafiori as left full back, his combination with Gabriel and Saliba would be a nightmare for Epl attackers.
      I guess Timber would compete with White and gradually replace him. From last season game against Everton Timber came in for White. In my opinion he is technically gifted than white.
      White would be better as Saliba deputy since he is a natural CB and can play out well from the back.

      1. I don’t think White can deputize Saliba, since the sweeper CB role requires a great aerial ability and White is pretty lame aerially for a CB

        I guess Arteta is worried about Timber’s abilities after his long-term injury. Many players dropped their football levels after recovering from grave injuries

        1. Timber White Saliba Calafiori
          Expect to see this back four often next season
          Y’all saw what Arteta did at the beginning of last season with Partey at right back.
          Ben White is too technically astute to be on the bench and while some may argue Gabriel is a good CB he’s not a ball playing CB
          This back four will often turn into a back 3 with Timber inverting or a back two with either of Ben or Calafiori left behind alongside Saliba
          Tomiyasu will more likely deputise Ben and Gabriel for Saliba

  7. I think Timber will be a RB option alongside White when the game demands a different setup.

    For Zinchenko, I don’t see he will seen again in defensive role, more of a midfield option when we need more creativity and ball possession in the middle of the park, that is if he doesn’t leave.

    Calafiori, if signed, will be the primary LB, and our starting 11 will look something like this:
    White/Timber Saliba Gabriel Calafiori
    Timber/(New DM)
    Odegaard Rice
    Saka Havertz (a new winger)/Trossard/Martinelli

  8. i don’t see any chance of Zinc replacing Rice as our #8

    i don’t see Zinc as #6 either

    must be 4th choice LB if Calafiori comes in

    sorry Zinc, you were a breath of fresh air along with Jesus when you joined, a big part of our mentality transformation, but no longer fits


  9. Timber on the other hand i see as being vital to Arsenal

    perhaps a victim of his own versatility, can play anywhere in the back four

    but if Calafiori comes in (which i think is one rumour that will come true) then Timber starts the season as second choice (at best) in any position, barring injury starts on the bench

    part of me says Timber is too good to be on the bench

    the other part of me says ‘wow, what squad depth’ we have if Timber can only make the bench

    and it is the latter that I must listen too, fantasy land of just a few years ago to have such depth in quality – the mantra is no drop off in quality when looking to the bench, Arsenal will have that for the first time in a decade, in defence at least

    midfield worries me though, and not the tired Partey debate, but Odegaard for which we have a massive drop off in quality on the bench

    of course #6 needs replenishing with younger more dynamic legs, but #10 could hurt us more should Odegaard get a long term injury

    i am intrigued see who Edu/Arteta move for next after Calafiori, could it be another left-field surprise?

  10. Before he moved to Arsenal, Timber had never played at LB but he had ,on occasion played as a DM for Ajax where he usually featured at RCB or RB.As I said almost a year ago, he has all the attributes required of a DM and unless Arteta is intent in acquiring a quality replacement for Partey he may well be given a run out in midfield in certain pre season matches.As for Zinchenko, I suspect he will not be unloaded this season,as despite his obvious defensive frailties, he does provide left sided balance to our side.

  11. Timber will play alot of games, zinchenko needs to be sold. His just not good enough at the back as he gives the ball away alot, if we do keep him then he has to play in midfield.

  12. Superb 👏👏👏👍👍👍 analysis infact your are a professor in analysis
    Indeed Tim is has stamina,skills and physics that makes a versatile player
    Just hope that the surgery he underwent should not affect his style of play
    Otherwise I recommend him to play DM if Arsenal fail to get one he can actually fit there

  13. I think for versatility reasons, zinchenko can invert to midfield, I mean he plays midfield under pep and performs well so why not with arteta?

    1. I believe Calafiori has been signed to play as a CB. He will replace saliba initially until he is back from an extended rest after the euros. Then we will see arteta drop Gabriel, unfortunately who may become a back up or rotation, CB with Calafiori. Arteta wants rotation at CB, just like pep which is wise.

      Timber will be the inverted left back if fit, he does not unseat parteyin this position (if he is still with us) in midfield. Kiwor I believe will stay, as second choice LB (after timber when Calafiori is playing CB). Zin only plays as an impact sub at LB or starts in cups as I believe arteta doesn’t rate his defensive ability.

  14. I hope arteta isn’t stuffing around with the team. Echoes of partey playing RB last season. Albeit, with the euros and players returning late there will be some team changes come the first week

  15. start of the season: white,saliba,gabriel,calafiori

    long term: timber,saliba,gabriel,calafiori

    zinchenko moved to RCM as backup for odegaard
    kiwior loaned out or sold for profit.

  16. Are we really going to sign Calafiori?

    Here is his medical record for the last few years.

    Ligament injuries and COVID saw Calafiori miss 89 matches in two years during his time at Roma.

    Three separate hamstring injuries and a muscular issue then kept him out for another 37 matches in the next 18 months at Roma, leading to the Italian giants letting him go out on loan to Genoa before he joined Basel in a permanent deal.

    In the two years since, a series of injuries listed as ‘unknown’ and more muscle issues have seen our target miss another 25 matches.


    That is worse than even Wilshire and possibly even Abu Diaby

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