Ten Hag favourite’s ‘dream and priority’ is Arsenal transfer – club will lower demands by €10-20m

Jason Soutar
Arsenal-linked Ajax defender Jurrien Timber before a match.
Jurrien Timber before a match.

According to Dutch journalist Mike Verweij, Ajax defender Jurrien Timber’s “dream and priority” is to join Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta has identified Timber as his top defensive target as he looks to provide more depth in right-back and centre-back this summer.

The Dutch international was linked with Manchester United last summer after Erik ten Hag’s appointment, but he ended up staying at Ajax, while Antony and Lisandro Martinez made the move from the Eredivisie giants to Old Trafford.

Arteta reportedly sees Timber as the ideal player for his inverted full-back role. He will likely come in to provide cover for Benjamin White and will slot in as a midfielder during attacking phases of play, much like Oleksandr Zinchenko does on the left.

Arsenal made an opening bid worth €30million, with Ajax holding out for closer to €50m, David Ornstein reported this week.

And De Telegraaf journalist Verweij thinks the Gunners will be able to agree a fee “between €40m and €50m” with Timber extremely eager to make the move.

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“Timber has said from the very first moment that he only wants to leave Ajax for an absolute top club,” Verweij said.

“Even Bayern, who have not yet made an offer, are still waiting, because Arsenal are his dream and priority. He doesn’t listen at all to other clubs.

“Ajax & Arsenal really still have to negotiate about the transfer fee, but Timber has also been promised to think along, so there is an agreement [to let him leave]. No fixed transfer fee.

“Ajax bet on €60m. I think they will come out between €40m and €50m.”

Speaking in 2020 during the Covid-19 break, Arsenal boss Arteta said it shouldn’t take too much to convince players to want to join the Gunners, and that does not appear to have been a problem with Timber.

“The moment we mention Arsenal, Ian you know what it means around the world,” Arteta told Ian Wright in an interview with Adidas UK.

“Everybody wants to come here and we have a really clear idea of what we are.

“It doesn’t need much convincing and if they do, for me it’s not a good starting point. If I have to convince a player to stay or to join us. To Arsenal? It holds me back a little bit.

“It has to be ‘what do we have to do? I want to play for that club and represent exactly the values the style of play that I want’. That’s the kind of emotion I want to hear at the start.

“The same with the players that are here. Once you finish what are the feelings you have towards the club? That’s what really interests me.”

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