David Ornstein, fondly referred to as The Ornacle by Arsenal fans, has not been the harbinger of good news that we have come to know and love as of late. On Monday evening, though, it seems as though the Arsenal ITK still has a trick or two up his sleeve, announcing that the Gunners had begun the process of negotiating with Dutch side Ajax for centerback Jurrien Timber, making an opening offer of £30m.
EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal working on deal to sign Ajax defender Jurrien Timber. #AFC have made an opening offer worth ~£30m. #Ajax want ~£50m but optimism a compromise will be reached. Personal terms with Netherlands int’l thought to be in place @TheAthleticFC https://t.co/mdMeSXp3ff— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) June 19, 2023
The midfield overhaul has been the primary focus early in the summer transfer window, but adding another central defender was always a priority as well, especially after Arsenal’s late-season injury crisis in the defense. Arsenal successfully added Polish centerback Jakub Kiwior in the winter, but another quality CB was always going to be necessary with Arsenal qualifying for Champions League play next season.
Jurrien Timber is a surprise name, but one that I think most Arsenal fans will gladly entertain. The 22 year old Dutch international is a bit undersized at 5’10”, but his biggest asset far and away is his passing. Timber is not just a good passer - he is an elite passer.
Those are some crazy passing numbers https://t.co/HPc0tdaHp8— Scott Willis (@scottjwillis) June 19, 2023
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were looking at the stats for a midfielder. That his defensive stats are the weakest part of his profile is certainly a concern, but with how Arteta likes to utilize his defenders, his skill set is one that is absolutely worth kicking the tires on.
As with many of Arteta’s signings, he fits a certain mold - young (he just turned 22 this week) with a high ceiling and tactically flexible, as he is able to play right back (although he has not played a considerable amount there). He has CL experience already, and can provide a different skill set than what Arsenal’s current stable of centerbacks offers.
Ajax are among the best clubs in the world at developing talent, but it’s been some time since Arsenal have bought a player from the Dutch giants - not since Donyell Malden joined Arsenal’s Academy in 2015. Perhaps that all changes this summer.
We will update as the situation develops.