Kim Kallstrom won't be able to wear that shirt in an actual game for a little while. (Stuart MacFarlane/Getty Images)
When Arsenal nabbed Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom as the January transfer window closed, most saw the signing as a consolation prize after failing to land a bigger name.
Apparently even that might have been too generous.
In one of the more bizarre stories to come out of the mid-season transfer period, it now appears that Arsenal will have to wait at least six games for Kallstrom to be healthy enough to play due to a back injury. This, during a period where the once-leaders of the EPL must carry on without midfielders Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey due to injury, and Mathieu Flamini due to suspension -- absences that were supposedly the reason for the Kallstrom move in the first place.
We can only speculate as to why Arsenal would sign Kallstrom, but the BBC has given some insight into how.
As it was first reported, Kallstrom had supposedly suffered the injury in his first training session with his new team. But that story of terrible transfer luck soon gave way to one of near-incompetence. It turns out that Kallstrom suffered the injury playing beach soccer with his former club Spartak Moscow on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi. But even though Arsenal detected the injury in the course of Kallstrom's medical, they signed him anyway.
Kallstrom will miss key Premier League clashes in his injury layoff, in addition to an F.A. Club fifth round match against Liverpool and a Champions League game against Bayern Munich. At the earliest, the 31-year-old could return on March 1 vs. Stoke City….by which point Wilshere, Flamini, and perhaps even Ramsey could be back and ready to go for the Gunners.
So why sign him? Only Wenger will know for sure. If nothing else, Arsenal fans can take solace that this wasn't a big investment -- Kallstrom is at the club on a short-term loan deal that expires at the end of the season (which, now that I think about it, might actually make the deal more strange).
Arsenal play Crystal Palace on Sunday, where they will hope for a win to regain top spot in the EPL after a midweek 2-2 draw with Southampton knocked them off the perch.