Erik ten Hag, who has emerged as the front-runner for the Manchester United management role, allegedly wants to send some of his Ajax talents to Old Trafford. If Ten Hag is chosen as United’s new manager, rumours in the Netherlands claim he will try to sign Jurrien Timber. Here in this article, we give you the scoop on Timber, who has been connected to a transfer to Manchester City under Pep Guardiola.
Who is Timber?
Jurrien & his twin brother Quinten, who were both brought into the world around Utrecht in June 2001, began participating in amateur football with their neighbourhood club DVSU in 2006. Following that, they spent six years at Feyenoord until enrolling in the Ajax academy in 2014. The pair progressed through the ranks before playing for Jong Ajax in the Dutch second division, where Jurrien stood out for his leadership abilities. Quinten was never a member of Ajax’s first squad, but Jurrien was picked under Ten Hag to make his professional debut versus Heerenveen in March 2020.
He contributed to Ajax’s 3-1 victory, and in 2020–21 he became a regular in the first squad, making 30 games across all categories as they won both the Eredivisie championship and KNVB Cup. After being selected for Frank De Boer’s Netherlands team for Euro 2020, the 20-year-old has now made six appearances for his country, including three in the competition. Timber had another outstanding season in 2021–2022 and was a contender for the Golden Boy award in 2021.
Where does Timber play?
While his brother plays in the midfield, Jurrien is a central defender who can also fill in at right back when necessary. Timber, who graduated from the Ajax academy, likes carrying the ball into the defensive half of the field. The Netherlands internationally is famous for his excellent positioning and keen sense of the game, but he is also a forceful tackler against opposition strikers and an aggressive defender. United already has five center-backs on the roster, but Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, and Harry Maguire all appear to be leaving the club after 2021–2022.
Manchester United’s terrible Premier League campaign is finally coming to an end. Overall, it’s been a forgettable season for the Premier League superpower. They still have a chance to secure a Europa League berth on the last day of the competition, and they’ll be anxious to avoid ending in the Europa Conferences League position. Fans had thought they would cut the gap between Manchester City & Liverpool at the top of the standings following a summer spending spree that saw them make significant purchases of players like Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho, and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, with one game remaining, they are 24 points closer to the relegation battle than league leaders City are (32 points).
However, there is still hope for the future at Old Trafford. Erik ten Hag’s appointment as manager of United has already been announced, and it is hoped that he would supervise a comprehensive revamp of a team that is in dire need of a rebuild. It won’t be quick or pretty, but supporters—and more importantly, the club—must be patient and give Ten Hag the chance to do a crucial task. One of them will be to fix a defence that has let up 56 goals in the league this year, six more than Burnley in 18th place and just three more than Everton in 16th place.
Only three of United’s 19 errors resulting in an opponent’s shooting this season have resulted in goals, trailing only Wolves and Arsenal (20), and this is partly because of David De Gea’s heroics, who has produced the second-most saves (124) as in Premier League. However, a club of United’s size shouldn’t need to rely on a goalie to save them from themselves so frequently. De Gea needs more cover from his defenders and the midfield, and while bringing in a new centre-back won’t solve their problems overnight, having a defender at Jurrien Timber’s calibre would be unquestionably a move in the right direction.
Old Trafford has been extensively connected to the young Dutchman, while Bayern Munich is also rumoured to be keeping an eye on Timber. With Ten Hag on onboard, the Premier League team is currently in front of its German rivals in the battle to sign the 20-year-old. Timber is a very calm person despite his young age, and this mental strength was crucial to Ajax’s success in winning the title this year. With Timber playing all but 5 league games, Ten Hag’s squad conceded at least 15 fewer points (19) compared to any other club as in the 2021/22 Eredivisie season.
The Netherlands international’s contribution to the defence during Ajax’s title-winning season was further evidenced by the eight of the 19 goals they would concede coming in the five games in which he didn’t start. He is best notable for his defensive distribution. To succeed, Ten Hag’s team must dominate their opponents, which they accomplished admirably in 2021–2022, finishing first in the Eredivisie for both possessions (66.6%) and pass rate of success (84.7%). Timber was crucial in this situation, maximizing a statistically determined WhoScored strength of “passing.”He had the greatest pass rate of success (91.5%) in the Dutch top flight and came in third most passes per 90, which helped Ajax to control the tempo as they won trophies. Although the Eredivisie is not as rough and tough as such Premier League, Timber has shown that he can hold his own as well. The fact that Timber is a solid player who can also play right-back is an added benefit.
Playing him in this position rather than putting him in the starting lineup might be a good method for getting the Dutch defender acclimated to Premier League football’s rigours rather than relying on him to quickly transfer his strengths to this, of times, error-ridden United defence. This is also another area of Timber’s that needs improvement. In the Eredivisie season, Ajax only made eight mistakes that resulted in an opponent’s shot, although three of those have been Timber’s fault. The fact that just one was scored, fortunately for the player and club, does draw attention to a weakness in his game.
Trusting Ten Hag mostly with the process is essential for United, and if he thinks Timber is a major player in the reconstruction, they would be wise to support the new coach as he tries to have a successful first season at Old Trafford. Timber is far from perfect, but he had a great season that earned him a WhoScored rank of 7.40, good enough to make an Eredivisie player of the season. If Ten Hag is to enforce the same dominant playing style that fans saw with Ajax, a centre-back of Timber’s calibre would help the 52-year-old obtain his point across in Manchester.