Football News

Erik ten Hag hints at Man Utd move for highly-coveted Ajax defender Jurrien Timber

By Ben Green

Published: 18:00, 16 May 2022

Soon-to-be Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has whet the appetite of fans at Old Trafford by hinting at a possible summer move for highly-regarded Ajax defender Jurrien Timber.

The 20-year-old centre-back has risen to meteoric prominence over the past two seasons under Ten Hag — particularly this campaign — at the Johan Cruyff Arena, establishing himself as one of the most promising defenders in Dutch football.

His form has been such that he has already earned six caps at international level for the Netherlands, making his debut as a teenager, while this year he was awarded the Ajax Talent of the Year accolade, also known as the Marco van Basten Award.

Ten Hag will link up with the Red Devils in the summer upon the conclusion of the 2021/22 Premier League season and the end of Ralf Rangnick’s polarising tenure as interim boss, heralding a new dawn at Old Trafford as the Dutchman becomes the fifth permanent manager following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

Speculation has been mounting as to whether Ten Hag will poach any of his current players at Ajax, with the likes of Antony, Ryan Gravenberch and even former West Ham striker Sebastien Haller all linked with a move to Manchester — and he has now name-dropped two players rumoured to be off in the summer.

“I think that all top clubs in Europe have Timber in their sights,” Ten Hag told De Telegraaf.

“But I think that currently applies to a lot of Ajax players.

“If Antony were to go, it would be a loss for Ajax, because you have no one in the current selection who can take over his position.”

Ten Hag has a massive rebuild job on his hands when he joins the club in the summer. The likes of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic are all set to leave upon the expirations of their respective deals, while there are a number of fringe players thought to be leaning towards the exit doors.

Then there’s the question of Cristiano Ronaldo who, at 37, may not be best suited to a high-pressing brand of football despite his ridiculous tally in front of goal. But, Ten Hag has already been quick to quell concerns over Ronaldo’s future at Old Trafford.

“I look forward to working with him,” Ten Hag said.

“Ronaldo is a giant. Because of what he’s already shown and I think he’s still very ambitious. Of course I’d like to keep him.

“He has been very important for Man Utd this year [and he] can produce great statistics.”