Arsene Wenger has issued an update on new midfielder Kim Kallstrom.
Arsenal's loan signing Kim Kallstrom got off to the worst possible start to his career at the club, aggravating an injury under 24 hours into his stay.
Reports in Sweden claimed he would be out for six weeks, which were quickly denied via the club's press office, and now Arsene Wenger has moved to give clarity on the situation.
Speaking after the club's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, he said:
"(The end of February) is the best-case scenario. I'm sure if you have played football you might have played with a micro-fracture of your vertebra without even noticing it because on a normal scan you don't find out. He might play before that [the end of February] but he might play as well later."
Typically non-committal, clearly Wenger is hedging his bets.
Fortunately the good news is he revealed Spartak Moscow will pay Kallstrom's wages for the first six weeks of his loan.
Wenger admitted he almost pulled out of the deal when learning about Kallstrom carrying a back injury:
"Yes of course it crossed my mind. I would not have signed him if we had two or three more days to do something, but it was Friday night at five o'clock, so it was [a case of] you [sign] nobody or you do it under these conditions.
"I decided to do it because we might, because of the number of games we have now in February, we might need the players in March or April. There is a possibility [that he may not play] but as well there is the possibility that he scores us the winning goal that might be vitally important."
It's quite revealing that Wenger says he would not have signed Kallstrom if he had more time to look for somebody else.
The deal reveals a flaw in Arsenal's dealings, for by leaving it so late, like a drunken party-goer at 4am, they had to take what they could get, a by-product too of Aaron Ramsey's late injury.
The Frenchman remains upbeat, but there's no escaping the loan is at this stage looking a little farcical.
Kallstrom was signed to cover for the injured Aaron Ramsey, but it's still possible the Welshman could recover before the loanee.
Wenger added: "To find a player on a free loan, of that quality, on Wednesday morning until Friday night, is not easy."
But that only begs the question, why were they looking to deal on the cheap? If they wanted a midfielder, they could have paid and spent money on one, rather than settle for an injured loanee.