Erik ten Hag is reportedly eager to bring Jurrien Timber to Old Trafford in order to bolster Manchester United’s defence.
Date of Birth: 17/06/2001 (20)
Position: Centre-Back, Right-Back
Strong Foot: Right
Height: 1,79 m (5ft 10in)
Who is Jurriën Timber?Embed from Getty Images
Jurriën Timber is a 20-year-old Dutch centre-back currently plying his trade at Dutch giants Ajax. The youngster started his career at Ajax’s biggest rivals, Feyenoord, before making the switch to Ajax in 2014. Timber worked his way through the ranks at Ajax and made his first-team debut for the Amsterdam club in March 2020 against SC Heerenveen. Since then, Timber’s career has rapidly progressed. He was included in the Netherlands’ squad for the European Championships in 2021 where he featured 3 times.
Timber has been a pivotal part of Ten Hag’s squad at Ajax over the last two seasons. His performances have attracted interest from a few clubs, including Manchester United. According to Sky Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg, talks between United and Timber’s representatives have taken place with United seriously interested in signing the Dutch defender. Bayern Munich have also reportedly enquired about Timber.
StrengthsEmbed from Getty Images
Timber is a ball-playing centre-back meaning he’s very comfortable taking the ball and bringing it forward to progress the play. The Dutchman has completed an impressive 91% of his attempted passes in the Eredivisie this season. He’s also a very strong tackler, averaging 2.4 tackles per 90 in the 2021/22 Eredivisie season. Timber possesses a striking turn of pace and while he’s only 5’’10, he’s also very good physically and aerially. In the Eredivisie this season, he won 69% of his ground duels as well as over 60% of his aerial duels.
Timber’s positional awareness, sharp decision-making and tactical understanding of the game are other impressive attributes to his game, especially as he’s still so young.
One major weakness in Timber’s game is his ability in one-on-one situations. At times, he gives his opponent too much time and space which means he often gets beaten quite easily in such situations. However, at only 20 years old, this is something which can be improved.
Where would Timber fit in at United?Embed from Getty Images
Ten Hag’s style of play is very much cantered around having possession and sustaining attacks. Timber’s ball-playing ability suits this style of play perfectly. In the long-term, Timber would hopefully be United’s first-choice centre-back but with it looking very likely that United’s go-to pairing next season will be Raphael Varane and club captain Harry Maguire, he may not get regular game time at centre-back next season. This is where Timber’s versatility comes into play as he is also able to play at right-back, which is also a position Man United need to improve especially if Aaron Wan-Bissaka departs the club this summer. As Timber is unlikely to get much game time at centre-back next season, in the short-term, he could play at right-back challenging Diogo Dalot for his place.
VerdictEmbed from Getty Images
According to various reports, United will look to sign another centre-back this summer and have been linked to Borussia Dortmund’s Manuel Akanji and Villarreal’s Pau Torres. Signing Timber would make the most sense of the three. He’s the youngest and has the most time to develop. Having worked with him already, Ten Hag knows everything about Timber’s game and Timber knows exactly what ten Hag would expect from him.
The only doubt is in recent times, players who’ve made the direct transition from the Eredivisie to the Premier League have struggled with some examples of this being Donny van de Beek, Memphis Depay and Hakim Ziyech. However, Timber wouldn’t be under as much pressure immediately as the other three mentioned. He’d have enough time to adapt as he likely wouldn’t be in the starting XI every game straight away and would also be working under ten Hag who is a manager who knows how to get the best out of him.
Timber is very highly rated in the Netherlands with some people having claimed that he’s better than Matthijs de Ligt was at Ajax. He’s got a bright future ahead and a move to Old Trafford with Erik ten Hag could be the perfect next step for the Dutchman.