Manchester United were heavily interested in signing Ajax defender Jurrien Timber last summer but the Dutchman decided against leaving the Eredivisie outfit.
The young centre-back was reluctant to part ways with Ajax in a World Cup year. He was wary of losing his national team spot due to the competition for places at United.
The Red Devils eventually signed his teammate Lisandro Martinez instead and the Argentine has been one of the club’s leading performers under manager Erik ten Hag.
In our opinion, the Red Devils could make a fresh approach at the end of the campaign. They may have to act quick, considering Liverpool are also interested in the Dutchman.
United have to beat Liverpool in pursuit of Timber
Timber was Ten Hag’s priority target to bolster his central defence but eventually chose to sign Martinez.
This has proved a blessing in disguise. Martinez has been a revelation at the heart of the backline. He has excelled with his concentration and ability to make key clearances.
Despite Martinez’s success, United could still pursue another top-class central defender in the summer with reports suggesting that Harry Maguire could head for the exit door.
In our view, Timber would be a solid upgrade on the club captain. This season, he has completed 92% of his passes with an average of 1.4 tackles and 1.9 clearances per game.
Meanwhile, he has won 51% of his ground and aerial duels in the Eredivisie. Similar to Martinez, Timber is not the tallest of central defenders but he possesses a tremendous leap.
Timber would be a fantastic acquisition for United and could be seen as a long-term replacement for the injury-prone Raphael Varane. Timber and Martinez could be reunited in the long run.
Liverpool are probably United’s main threat for the player with their Dutch connection. Virgil van Dijk played his part in convincing Cody Gakpo to move to Anfield in January.
The Merseyside outfit could try a similar tactic to persuade Timber but the chance to reunite with Ten Hag could be hard to turn down after their strong relationship at Ajax.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and Sofascore.com