December 1, 2023

Arsenal: Ajax star who could make Rice unplayable

Arsenal: Ajax star who could make Rice unplayable

Arsenal: Ajax star who could make Rice unplayable

Arsenal appear to be on the verge of completing their second transfer of the current window, as they move closer to acquiring defensive reinforcements.

What is the current status of Jurrien Timber’s transfer to Arsenal?

The most recent update on Mikel Arteta’s pursuit of Jurrien Timber comes, as expected, from transfer savant Fabrizio Romano, who only a week ago reported the infamous “here we go” regarding Kai Havertz.

Now, it appears that the young Dutch defender will be the next to arrive at the Emirates, as the Gunners attempt to close the distance with the treble-winning Manchester City.

The Italian journalist tweeted: “Arsenal have submitted a second official offer to Ajax in an effort to finalize the Jurrien Timber deal this week.” 

After a club’s initial £30 million offer was rejected, discussions between clubs have advanced. Personal arrangements for a five-year contract were agreed upon last week.”

It is anticipated that the agreement will cost approximately €45 million (£39 million).

How impressive is Jurrien Timber?

The 22-year-old possesses the qualities necessary to thrive in Arteta’s possession-oriented system, which explains why he has reportedly been so eager to make the transfer. His transition from Ajax to Arsenal ought to be seamless.

Given his technical prowess, it is anticipated that the Dutchman will excel in roles other than his natural centre-back position, as he has arguably proved himself to be too creative to be constrained at the back.

According to FBref, he ranks in the top 1% for progressive carries and passes per 90 minutes, the top 4% for progressive passes received, and the top 5% for touches in the opponent’s penalty area per 90 minutes, when compared to others in his position across Europe.

 These are uncommon statistics for a center back, emphasizing that his future rests further up the field.

It was therefore not surprising to hear Rafael van der Vaart say, “Timber is so quick, has light feet, is always sharp, and never panics with the ball.” Almost like a superb midfielder in defence.”

These exceptional qualities indicate that he would be better adapted to a midfield position, or perhaps as an inverted fullback similar to Oleksandr Zinchenko.

If everything goes according to Arteta’s plan, including the acquisition of West Ham United captain Declan Rice, these two could form a formidable and somewhat surprising midfield partnership identical to the Ukraine international’s pairing with Thomas Partey.

Having been a dependable central defender with the creativity to press further forward, he would fit in perfectly with the all-around star that the England international has become in recent years.

The 24-year-old maintained a 7.19 average rating in the Premier League based on his one critical passes, 2.1 tackles, and 1.7 interceptions per game, per Sofascore. 

Indeed, with this classification, he would have been Arsenal’s third-best performer and joint-best defender during their title-contending campaign last year.

With a player of Timber’s caliber playing alongside him instead of Tomas Soucek, and with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli bolstering the quality up front, these metrics are certain to improve further.

With Rice and Timber’s abundance of creativity, athleticism, and defensive tenacity, this additional tactical option could create one of the league’s finest engine room pairings and propel both of their careers to the next level.

Arsenal: Ajax star who could make Rice unplayable

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