Kim Kallstrom Could Be Set for Arsenal Role After All

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2014

ZAGREB, CROATIA - FEBRUARY 29:  Kim Kallstrom of Sweden during the International Friendly between Croatia and Sweden at the Maksimir Stadium on February 29, 2012 in Zagreb, Croatia.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger might just be a genius.

When he made Kim Kallstrom his only January signing, the decision was ridiculed as folly. Kallstrom's medical had unveiled a stress fracture in his back which ruled him out for six weeks.

However, Wenger proceeded with the deal. His inkling must have been that there was still a hazardous few months to go. An injury crisis is difficult to predict and Kallstrom could provide crucial cover once he had returned to fitness.

Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press

Wenger's hunch was correct. Today, Arsenal got the worrying news that Aaron Ramsey has suffered a set-back in his recovery. He had previously been expected to make his return this weekend against Tottenham, but is now ruled out. Wenger told

We have had to defer his comeback to full training a little so he is not available.

He is having difficulties in the final stages of his rehab. It looks to be short-term.

The news on Kallstrom, however, is far more positive. According to Wenger, he has joined the "normal training group" and it is "not impossible" that he will be included in the squad for the derby.

The timing couldn't be more perfect. Ramsey is joined in the treatment room by Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil. Wilshere picked up a broken foot on England duty, while Ozil suffered a hamstring strain during the Champions League tie with Bayern Munich.

The latest prognosis on Ozil is not good. According to David Ornstein of BBC Sport, the German international is expected to miss "at least" the next four weeks.

The recent setbacks put Arsenal top of the Premier League's injury table. Questions have been raised about Arsenal's training methods, with Ed Malyon of The Mirror quoting former Wales assistant coach Raymond Verheijen as saying:

An injury could be bad luck but that is the exception to the rule. In contact sports occasionally there is an unlucky injury but most injuries are a result of overloading the body...doing the wrong workload at the wrong time or in the wrong sequence. 

Clearly something is going wrong. If you look at the law of the big numbers, something in the last ten years is going wrong. It’s clearly incompetence but it’s unconscious incompetence. 

It's a big concern for Arsenal fans, but one that is unlikely to be resolved between now and the season's climax in May. For now, they must make the best of the situation and hope that the coaching staff review their methods in the summer.

Central midfield is undoubtedly the area where they're hit hardest, with Abou Diaby joining Ramsey, Ozil and Wilshere on the sidelines. It leaves Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini as the club's only available central midfielders.

Enter Kallstrom. A player once derided as a superfluous signing could become a vital squad member. Once again, it seems that Arsene Wenger really does know best.

James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.