Midweek Premier League news: Matchday 2
Big losses for last year's top two.
Matchday one of the 2023/24 Premier League season has come and gone with relatively little surprises, but some problems for specific teams.
Take a look at some of the bigger stories following the first weekend of the new season, including injury problems for two top teams and Liverpool’s ongoing transfer saga.
De Bruyne ruled out for months
Manchester City’s opening game victory over newly promoted Burnley was somewhat overshadowed by an injury to their captain and star man in the middle, Kevin De Bruyne.
KDB had been struggling with a hamstring injury for some time, with manager Pep Guardiola revealing that he had been playing through the pain of it for the last two months of the season, including in the FA Cup and Champions League finals, both times being brought off early.
The Belgian was nursed throughout the summer, not featuring in the pre-season and playing limited minutes in City’s loss to Arsenal during the Community Shield.
But Guardiola has now admitted he made a mistake bringing him back into the team so soon.
The consequence of this will now see the reigning champions without their captain for a few months, but the exact length won’t be determined until it is decided if he will need surgery.
City will be turning to the transfer window once more for some backup due to the loss, with their sights set on West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta. The Brazilian is open to the move, but the Hammers have rejected City’s first bid of £70m and have set a price of £85m for him.
They are expected to make a second offer at some point; however, they may also look at other options, with RB Leipzig’s Dani Olmo reportedly a target as well.
Arsenal’s Timber set for knee surgery
Another big injury loss came for City’s title rivals last season, as Arsenal lost new signing Jurrien Timber to an ACL injury.
Timber signed for the Gunners just last month for £34m, and after a very promising showing in the Community Shield, fans were looking forward to seeing what the Dutch international could do for their squad.
Unfortunately, they will have to wait as the defender limped off in the 50th minute of their game against Nottingham Forest, with it confirmed later that he suffered an ACL injury to his right knee.
These injuries are never light, usually requiring surgery and many months of rehabilitation. For Arsenal, they are said to not be looking to the window to bring in any replacements as they have sufficient players to cover.
Zinchenko is still on his way back but should slot right back in when he does. In the meantime, Kieran Tierney may see his game time improved.
Timber’s ACL injury also sees him join other players who are out for extended periods of time with similar knee injuries, including Chelsea’s new signing Christopher Nkunku, and Aston Villa’s Emi Buendia and Tyrone Mings.
Liverpool’s midfielder search continues
Liverpool are continuing their search for a midfielder after losing out on both Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo to Chelsea.
The Reds have been looking at replacements for the departed Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arthur Melo (quite an exhaustive list), and so far their efforts have come up short.
Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher even had some scything remarks about their summer window during the Monday Night Football broadcast, branding it “an absolute mess, a joke and embarrassing”.
Jurgen Klopp is determined, though, and has turned his sights to new targets, including looking to steal a player out from Manchester United’s grasp.
Liverpool have already submitted a £16m bid for Stuttgart’s Wataru Endo, with his current club giving him permission for a medical while the two sides sort out some finer details.
They are also said to be interested in Crystal Palace’s Cheick Doucoure, Fulham’s Palhinha, and PSV’s Ibrahim Sangare.
But one interesting move they are looking to make is for Man United target Sofyan Amrabat. The Moroccan international shone during last year’s World Cup and has been on United’s radar for some time.
The Red Devils were looking to make contact at some point during the window, but while that hasn’t yet come to fruition, Liverpool have decided to attempt a coup to sign him.
The 26-year-old from Fiorentina seems interested in a move to the Prem, with the player changing agents, which is usually a sign of a player wanting to sort a move.
United do still remain interested but will need some sales first before they can move for him, allowing Klopp’s Reds to potentially swoop in and steal him away.