Arsenal defender Jurrien Timber could return in time for the Gunners' Champions League round of 16 tie against Porto, according to reports.
Timber joined the club from Ajax in the summer for a bargain price and impressed in pre-season before his debut campaign was cut short on Matchday 1. The defender suffered an ACL tear in a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest, and many doubted whether the Dutchman would feature for the club again in 2023/24.
Arsenal's defence has coped admirably in his absence, but Mikel Arteta's options at the back have thinned over the festive period after Takehiro Tomiyasu was ruled out until the new year.
While Timber is still some way of making his full return, some have suggested the defender will be fit by the time Arsenal's Champions League knockout campaign starts in February,
Jurrien Timber expected to return sooner than expected from ACL tear
Arteta said last week that Timber is recovering "very fast" from his significant knee injury and it's been clear for a while that the 22-year-old will return to action before the end of the season.
However, the sheer speed of his recovery has staggered many. According to reliable Gunners insider Mo (@MoArsenal86 on X), Timber is 'on track' to return to training in January with the aim of making the matchday squad for Arsenal's trip to Porto on 21 February.
After finishing top of Group B, Arteta's side will travel to Portugal for the first leg of their round of 16 tie before hosting the return leg in March.
Having Timber fit and available would be a massive boost for Arsenal, who are also going in search of their first Premier League title since 2003/04. Arteta will hope that Tomiyasu is also present for the start of the club's Champions League knockout journey.