Jurrien Timber trains on the beach in Curacao
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Jurrien Timber showed against Erling Haaland last season he can be the defender to take Manchester United to the next level, according to former Ajax star Marciano Vink. Timber and Ajax beat Borussia Dortmund 4-0 in the group stage of the Champions League last term and the Dutchman impressed against his Norwegian opponent.
United boss Erik ten Hag is in the market for at least one defender this summer. Timber, who can play at both centre-back and right-back, is one of his top targets.
Vink believes the 20-year-old is exactly the profile of defender United need to sign. He says Turrier’s pace and ability with the ball at his feet can bring about a massive improvement at the back.
Vink told ESPN FC: “In defence, they need to reinforce and the name Timber is being named as one of the guys they want to bring in. Timber, in my opinion, he’s a very gifted young player, he’s always comfortable on the ball, he’s a good defender but most of all he anticipates really well.
“Those kinds of players you need to bring in to Man United to get to a higher level. I know for England they’re not common or well-known names but you need to start playing football again.
“I have seen many matches of Man United and it was lacking pace, football, there were too many players satisfied playing for Man United and not eager to win, not eager to play for the club. [Ten Hag] has to change the behaviour, mentality in the club and it’s going to take a while.”
Timber will have Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane to compete with for a starting spot in the middle of defence. Vink has seen enough to believe he could oust the France World Cup winner, especially after his performance against Haaland last October.
Timber would likely face Haaland again next season if he were to join United. The striker has agreed to sign for Manchester City.
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Vink added: “Maybe he can play alongside Harry Maguire, but this guy is ice cold. What this guy has shown in the Champions League against Haaland, what he has shown in the national team already at this age, he doesn’t blink and that’s special.
“This guy is so comfortable on the ball, he anticipates like the best and a defender needs to anticipate. You can be a strong defender, tall but if you don’t know how to anticipate where the ball is going or be ahead of the attacker then you’re not a good defender but this guy anticipates like the best.
“For me, it’s somebody who could easily play in the Premier League but also could help Man United from the back, football wise.”
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