Man Utd: £43m star 'among Ten Hag's top targets' at Old Trafford

Incoming Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag applauds Ajax fans

Manchester United will have Ajax defender Jurrien Timber among their ‘top targets’ for the summer, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.

New United manager Erik ten Hag brought the 20-year-old into the first-team frame at the Johan Cruyff ArenA and could now attempt to bring him to Old Trafford over the coming months.

What is the latest news involving Timber?

According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, the Red Devils are ‘in contact’ with Ajax over Timber as Ten Hag wants to make the centre-back one of his first signings.

The Netherlands international still has two years remaining on his current contract with the Amsterdam giants, though, leaving them in a strong position around the negotiating table.

Ajax are said to value Timber in the region of €50 million (£43m) and United’s discussions with the club are said to be at an initial stage.

However, the four-time European champions are understood to have offered their academy graduate fresh terms in an attempt to retain his services, meaning his arrival at United is far from guaranteed.

What has O’Rourke said about Man Utd?

United are expected to strengthen at the heart of defence after struggling to keep clean sheets last season, and O’Rourke believes Timber could ‘become a big player’ for the club.

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He told GiveMeSport: “Yeah, I think probably Jurrien Timber will be among his top targets. Lots of reports are suggesting that United are looking for centre-back reinforcements, so I think Timber would be right up there.

“He’s a very young player with huge potential, so he could become a big player for Manchester United now and in the future if they were to sign him.”

How good is Timber?

Timber has gone on to win six caps for the Netherlands since Ten Hag handed him his senior debut in March 2020, becoming a key part of an Ajax side that has claimed back-to-back titles.

The youngster has also showcased his versatility in the early stages of his promising career, playing at right-back on multiple occasions as well as his more familiar central role.

And his underlying numbers really illustrate where his many strengths lie.

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Colin McKee - Man United

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As per FBref, Timber has ranked in the 99th percentile for progressive passes, dribbles completed and progressive passes received, the 97th for progressive carries and the 93rd for blocks amongst his positional peers over the last year.

With Timber standing at just 5 foot 10, he is not the most physically imposing of defenders, yet his tactical intelligence, reading of the game and ability in possession make him a potentially outstanding acquisition for United.

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