Arteta says summer transfer window will be 'crucial' for Arsenal
Arsenal have been warned about Jurrien Timber’s suitability to English football as talks reportedly continue over the potential signing of the Ajax star. Mikel Arteta is keen to strengthen his squad this summer to challenge for the title again and it appears Timber could form an important part of his plans as Arsenal attempt to thrash out a deal, but Manchester United icon Jaap Stam has already suggested he could struggle in the Premier League.
The Gunners have moved to the front of the queue for the Netherlands international after submitting an opening bid of £30million, according to reports. Ajax are demanding £50m for one of their prized assets but there is ‘optimism’ in the Arsenal camp that a deal can be agreed to seal his signature.
It comes less than a year after United head coach Erik ten Hag attempted to lure Timber from the Johann Cruijff Arena when he took the job at Old Trafford in June 2022, only for Timber to commit his future to the club for another year after winning the Eredivisie title.
The 22-year-old made 34 appearances for Ajax last season but now looks set to leave his boyhood club after they finished third in the league table – some 13 points adrift of winners Feyenoord.
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At the time, former Red Devils defender Stam had questioned Ten Hag’s pursuit of Timber due to the physicality of the strikers he would be facing. And it seems that advice should be extended to Arsenal as they plot their move for the highly-rated centre-back.
“The intentions of the trainer [Ten Hag] are moulded to Timber, but make no mistake, this is the Premier League,” he previously told Algemeen Dagblad. “There you can’t always be dominant, you have to duel much more against strikers like Harry Kane and Erling Haaland.
“Everyone with Lisandro Martinez was also curious about that. It turns out that he did it. With Timber, I just miss a certain amount of aggression – sometimes even being a little mean – in his game.
“That is also, for example, in giving the first blow before the real duels come. Martinez does. You can learn that too, but it has to be in you.”
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Arteta is keen to shore up his backline after watching Arsenal’s title challenge crumble in the final weeks of the Premier League season.
The north London club were eight points clear of Manchester City at one stage before an injury to William Saliba appeared to disrupt the balance in their defence and they squandered crucial two-goal leads at West Ham and Liverpool.
But the Spaniard also knows that with their first Champions League campaign in six years, their squad must be strengthened to compete on all fronts with City, Manchester United and Liverpool all poised to splash out on new signings this summer.
Deals for Chelsea attacker Kai Havertz and West Ham captain Declan Rice are also in the pipeline as Arsenal prepare to spend big, with sporting director Edu Gaspar looking to finalise their transfer business before pre-season training begins.
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