Man Utd still in three-way battle for Ajax’s one that got away, as Euro giants look to ruin Ten Hag plan
Manchester United are still keen on Ajax defender Jurrien Timber, but Roma and Bayern Munich will reportedly present stern competition.
The Red Devils did bolster their back line this summer, but manager Erik ten Hag opted for a different Ajax star. And Argentina centre-back Lisandro Martinez has settled in well at Old Trafford.
Before his £57million arrival, though, Man Utd went after Ten Hag’s fellow Dutchman Timber.
Reports then claimed that Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal convinced the centre-back to snub United, but Timber himself rejected such reports.
But, Timber did admit that his “intention” is to move clubs in 2023 and that he has spoken to Ajax about his plan.
And according to Calciomercato, the 21-year-old’s comments have brought United’s lingering interest in Timber back into view.
The report adds, though, that Serie A side Roma are now keen on the defender. Boss Jose Mourinho believes his side’s defence is their ‘weak point’ and wants to bolster it with a marquee signing.
Timber is his and Roma’s ‘favourite’ target and the Italians have watched him ‘several times’ already this season.
Man Utd in Jurrien Timber race
But, as well as Manchester United, Bundesliga giants Bayern also plan to be in the 2023 race for Timber.
The Germans signed Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus this summer, but want to continue to drive down the average age of their defence.
Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard, both 26, now rank as Bayern’s oldest defenders.
The Bundesliga champions have orchestrated a strategy to future-proof their defence in recent seasons. Niklas Sule, 27, left for Dortmund this summer after 30-year-old David Alaba moved to Real Madrid in 2021.
Jerome Boateng, who is now 34, ran down his contract and also left Bayern in 2021.
In their place, Bayern have signed 23-year-old pair De Ligt and Dayot Upamecano and raided Ajax this summer for 24-year-old right-back Noussair Mazraoui.
They could therefore continue to sign another long-term defender option with 21-year-old Timber.
The centre-back has played every minute in the Eredivisie for Ajax this season, as well as every minute in the Champions League.
He signed a new contract this summer and those terms run until 2025. Calciomercato adds that Ajax will demand €30million for the player in upcoming transfer windows.
Ajax man surely set to leave
Ajax enjoyed a headline-grabbing summer transfer window on two particular fronts.
They let a host of players go and, in the end, had to block Chelsea target Edson Alvarez from leaving. On the flipside, they made a significant amount of profit.
Exits for Timber and Alvarez would have followed the departures of Martinez, Antony, Mazraoui and Ryan Gravenberch, among others.
So, the fact that Timber got a new contract was a show of faith from those at the top of Ajax that he is quickly becoming a senior first-team figure there.
However, as Ajax continue to fight for their latest Eredivisie title and try to reach the knock-out stages of the Champions League, Timber will no doubt look to move on.
The interest in his services is clearly there and it looks as if he will have the pick of clubs in January or next summer.