Jurrien Timber can succeed where Harry Maguire has struggled, he has the game for it
Manchester United’s defence has been awful this season, with 56 goals conceded so far, the club’s worst ever record in the Premier League.
A lot of focus has rightly turned to club captain Harry Maguire, who cost the club £80 million in 2019.
One issue for Maguire has been a lack of pace. While he performed well in a more defensive team, the demands at Old Trafford are different. Is he just the wrong fit for a team like United?
One option to replace him is Jurrien Timber, linked to United by The Mirror. Former Ajax star Johnny Heitinga believes Timber can succeed where Maguire has struggled.
Timber can succeed
Heitinga told Het Parool he believes Timber can succeed, having seen the qualities he possesses on a regular basis for Ajax.
The former Everton defender explained: “Today’s Ajax plays almost entirely in the opponent’s half. Then you defend on the centre line. A lot is being asked of Timber and Lisandro Martínez. You have fifty meters of space behind you. Every mistake, every misjudgment can be fatal.
“Timber has great game insight – he arrives before his man so often – and he exudes calm and control in everything. Pretty [good] for a 20-year-old.”
These are the exact scenarios where Harry Maguire has struggled for Manchester United, and Timber’s skill set should make him a very wise replacement.
Timber is 20, nine years younger than Maguire, and bringing him in could be a very shrewd move by new manager Erik ten Hag.
More backing for Timber
Current teammate Davy Klaassen also spoke up to praise Jurrien Timber, talking about his attributes which helped him win Ajax’s talent of the year award.
Klaassen told the Pak Schaal Podcast of Voetbal International: “He can do everything for me.
“They always say: ‘Yes, he is small’, but he also wins his header duels, so that doesn’t mean much to me. Not normal, he just dribbles past everyone once in a while. What doesn’t he have? He’s strong, he’s fast. He is calm on the ball.”
Manchester United have also been linked to Timber’s centre-back partner Lisandro Martinez, with The Telegraph reporting the Argentine could be a £25 million transfer target.
There are cases to sign both players, although Ajax will only let one leave, if at all, so United have to make a choice. But with both players performing so well this past season, it feels like either one would be an upgrade on United’s backline, especially with Erik ten Hag in charge.