Arsenal added another piece to its summer jigsaw puzzle on Friday (July 14) as the club unveiled new signing Jurriën Timber, who joins from Dutch giants Ajax.
The North London club’s intention to sign the 22 year-old had been widely reported for several weeks, but Gunners’ fans will be delighted to see Timber finally confirmed as an Arsenal player.
Having performed brilliantly last season in the Premier League under Mikel Arteta, particularly in the first half of the campaign before falling away in the final weeks, Arsenal appears to be significantly strengthening this summer.
The club is believed to be paying Ajax £34.3m ($45m) (plus £3.4m ($4.45m) in add-ons) for Dutchman Timber, who has made 15 appearances thus far for the Netherlands. Arsenal has already recruited big German forward Kai Havertz for £65m ($85m) from Chelsea and is expected to soon also confirm the incoming transfer of Declan Rice’s from West Ham for around £105m ($137.5m).
That would already push Arsenal’s summer transfer business north of £200m ($262m) as it strives to challenge for the Premier League title and compete strongly in the Champions League next season.
Timber is a highly rated Dutch international, whose ball retention and dribbling will delight Arsenal supporters and Premier League enthusiasts alike.
He’s a versatile player, as befits the Ajax way, capable of playing at full-back, centre back and in midfield. It is believed that Arteta will mainly play Timber at right-back, but he provides excellent options to the Spanish manager and is also known for his work rate and pressing ability.
Timber is understandably excited about the move, stating that his brothers were Arsenal fans when he was a child and that influenced him to also follow the Gunners as a youngster.
He said of his siblings and the admiration for the club, “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 liked watching Robin van Persie of course, and Thierry Henry. They were my favourite players.”
Timber got his breakthrough into Ajax’s starting XI in 2020 and has been impressing coaches, media and fans consistently over the past three seasons. Indeed, his former manager Erik ten Hag – who was the man who gave Timber his debut in the Ajax first team – was keen to sign him last year when he took the job at Manchester United.
Fortunately for Arsenal, United ended up signing Lisandro Martínez and Timber stayed with Ajax for another season. His notable comfort with the ball at his feet makes him stand out as a defender as does his ability to make progressive plays.
His skill on the ball might remind Premier League fans of Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva more than Martínez, such is his ability to retain possession against the odds and escape from tight situations with the ball at his feet. At 5ft 11in (182cm) and with his experience at centre back he is a very different player to Silva in truth.
Since Arteta was appointed as Arsenal manager at the end of 2019 the club have now made 24 senior signings at a combined cost of approximately £494m ($647m). The average age of those signings is 24 years-old, so Timber’s arrival at the Emirates Stadium is right on trend. Something serious appears to be building at Arsenal under Arteta.