Premier League • England

Exclusive: Why Arsenal abandoned signing that was ‘very close’ in favour of Jurrien Timber revealed

Jurrien Timber and Ivan Fresneda

Arsenal put interest in Ivan Fresneda to one side to sign Jurrien Timber

Arsenal put their interest in Ivan Fresneda to one side so they could focus on the more established option of Jurrien Timber this summer, Charles Watts has told TEAMtalk.

Timber recently joined Arsenal from Ajax to add another dimension to the defence at Mikel Arteta’s disposal. He has joined a squad ready to showcase its ability in the Champions League, as well as aiming for another Premier League title challenge.

With Timber through the door, Arsenal’s links with another right-back in the shape of Fresneda have cooled down. The Spaniard is now being linked with Bournemouth as an alternative route into the Premier League, according to Football Insider.

The story could have been different, but Arsenal’s return to Europe’s top competition prompted a shift in their priorities, as Watts has explained to TEAMtalk.

Indeed, rather than opting for a long-term project with Fresneda, Arsenal preferred to give themselves an immediate boost with Timber, who already looks to be settling in.

“He [Fresneda] was very close to signing in January and they opted not to,” Watts told TEAMtalk. “He and his representatives decided it was probably best to see out the season in Spain. It was put to one side.

“At one stage I thought it was probably going to happen. And this summer, they’ve just moved on to other targets.

“I think they’ve probably looked at the fact that they are in the Champions League, they need to really compete next season. He is a talented young, teenage full-back; what they need is someone who’s slightly older, like Timber, who’s established himself on the world stage.

“They need to have a squad capable of competing for the Premier League and Champions League.”

Timber making good first impression at Arsenal

Arsenal got their first glimpse of Timber in their colours when they beat the MLS All-Stars in their latest pre-season friendly. The Netherlands international replaced William Saliba in the second half.

Already, he has given a sign of how he could transform Arsenal, according to Watts.

“Timber came on was very impressive in his first showing against the All Stars on Wednesday night,” Watts continued. “He gave a real demonstration in about half-an-hour of exactly why Arsenal have looked to get him – in terms of what he’s going to bring, not just to the right-hand side, but the central areas of the pitch as well.

“Timber was just more established and going to improve the squad straight away whereas the Fresneda signing would be a little bit of a project, which Arsenal do sometimes, but this time they’ve opted for the slightly more experienced version.”

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