Arsenal have announced their second signing of the summer transfer window with Ajax defender Jurrien Timber coming to north London in a £34.3m, plus £4.3m in add-ons deal.
This comes after Arsenal signed Kai Havertz two weeks ago, and with the Timber now through the door, the Gunners have passed the £100 million mark this summer! Their spending spree continues in what could be the club’s biggest summer yet, with the announcement of Declan Rice still yet to come.
Timber, 22 years old, comes to Arsenal super excited about the project and according to highly acclaimed journalist Fabrizio Romano, the Netherlands international “has only ever wanted Arsenal,” and that has been seen by many as a massive coup for Gooners.
Speaking in an interview with Arsenal.com, Timber said: “‘I’ve always been a fan of Arsenal. It was because of my brothers. They were always Arsenal fans, and I just loved seeing Arsenal play. They had big players, the way they played, the style. I just love the club.
“I had this from a young age, but my brothers kind of put that in me. I liked watching Robin van Persie of course, and Thierry Henry. They were my favourite players.”
He added: “I think that I’m lucky to say that I can play as a central defender, as a right full-back, sometimes even on the midfield. So I think that’s a good thing and I need to keep that.
“I just like the way Arsenal play, is a bit similar to Ajax’s style and I like to play from the back. I can see a lot of similarities, especially in the way Arsenal and Ajax want to play.”
Timber’s playing style is very possession-based heavy and control of the ball with him being a brilliant dribbler, and according to data from FBref, Timber averaged 90.5 touches per game last season in the Dutch top flight, which is more than any other player and would be extremely beneficial for the way Mikel Arteta likes to play.
Arsenal manager Arteta speaking about Timber: “We’re really excited that Jurrien has joined us. He is a versatile young defender, who will fit into our system and provide our squad with so much added quality.
“Jurrien is a young player, but has already achieved so much. He has experienced what it’s like to go to a major international tournament on more than one occasion, as well as the trophies he has won with Ajax. We look forward to welcoming and integrating Jurrien into the squad.”
Rio Ferdinand spoke on his FIVE YouTube channel recently about the signing and said, “He’s quick, he can play, he’s good on the ball and he’ll be a good addition to their team. I think he’s an improvement on what they’ve got as well.”
That’s some high praise from the legendary centre-back, and Timber did have interest from Manchester United, but a deal was never formalised.
The signing of Timber could throw some doubt about the future of Takehiro Tomiyasu at the club, as he comes back from a long–term injury from last season’s campaign. Tomiyasu now looks set to be a third choice right back, which could lead to him wanting to leave in order to get more game time elsewhere.
One of the reasons why Timber is such a good signing is his versatility, with him playing numerous positions at Ajax, centre back, right back and even as a defensive midfielder. Arteta clearly likes versatility with Oleksandr Zinchenko having a similar quality, and Benjamin White moving from centre back to right back last season, who can also deputise in midfield. There is hope Arteta could emulate Pep Guardiola’s decision to play John Stones further forward with Ben White next season.
The big question is, does Timber start in our first eleven after just how impressive English international White was last season? It would be harsh to bench him, it will be interesting to see what Arteta does as there are rumours of a change of formation to a three-at-the-back system, to cooperate a back line of Zinchenko, Gabriel, William Saliba, White and Timber, to add more fluidity of formation change in the game.
We will have to see what he decided to do, but one thing for sure we welcome the fact we now have a massive amount of depth in the defence, which can only be a good thing.
We welcome you to the Arsenal, Jurrien!
— AFTV (@AFTVMedia) July 14, 2023