Arsenal sign Netherlands defender Jurrien Timber from Ajax in deal worth in the region of £38m; Timber, who signs on a five-year deal, is a product of the Ajax academy and made 160 appearances for the club before moving to north London to join Mikel Arteta's side
Saturday 15 July 2023 07:43, UK
Arsenal have signed defender Jurrien Timber from Ajax for a fee in the region of £38m.
The Gunners will pay an initial fee of just over £34m for the Netherlands international, 22, on a five-year deal, with the remainder payable in performance-related add-ons.
Timber, who came through the Ajax academy and has made 160 senior appearances for the Eredivisie club, completed his medical and finalised personal terms ahead of being unveiled.
The Dutchman has been a long-term target for Arsenal and is their second signing of the summer following the £65m arrival of Kai Havertz, with a £105m deal to sign West Ham's Declan Rice also imminent.
Timber is being signed by Arsenal as a right-back but he can also play at centre-back and has previously attracted interest from Manchester United.
He has 15 caps for the Netherlands and started four of their five games at last year's World Cup in Qatar, where they were knocked out by eventual winners Argentina in the quarter-finals.
Sky Sports' Nick Wright:
At only 22 years old but with nearly 200 senior games for club and country already behind him, Timber offers exactly the blend of youth and experience that Arsenal now look for in new additions.
He also brings versatility and adaptability. Timber has played primarily as a centre-back in a back four for Ajax and usually operates in a back three for the Dutch national team. But he is equally capable of slotting in at right-back and also has the capacity to tuck into midfield.
Those qualities are crucial for Arteta, who likes his full-backs to step into central areas in possession, and there are plenty of other factors to appeal to the Arsenal boss.
Timber is regarded as an excellent defender, strong in the tackle and in aerial challenges too, but his biggest strength lies in his passing ability. Timber is excellent on the ball and the statistics underline his importance to Ajax in that regard.
Last season in the Eredivisie, he had more touches and made more passes than any other player in the division. He also ranked top for forward passes, underlining his capacity to not only recycle possession but pierce opposition lines and launch attacks.
That ability is sure to be crucial to Arsenal, whose defenders are required to withstand opposition pressing and provide a starting point for the team's attacks. Arteta will hope to harness Timber's talent for that side of the game next season and beyond.
Timber told the club's website: "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."
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta added: "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."
Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 14 and closes at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?
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