Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wood you believe it? Dutch defender linked.

Morning. A very quick early blog for you.

Let’s start with some transfer news, and a name from nowhere. David Ornstein reports we’ve made an offer for Ajax defender, Jurrien Timber.

He’s a 22 year old centre-half, with 121 appearances for Ajax, and 15 caps for the Netherlands. I don’t think I have ever heard his name mentioned in relation to us in the past, so this is a bit of a bolt from the blue. Man Utd had been linked previously, the obvious connection with Erik ten Hag playing a part there. The Dutch side are looking for close to €50m, we’ve offered €30m – and they’ve turned a first bid down. Holy cow, that never happens!

Here’s a thing that won’t surprise you, despite being primarily a central defender, he can also play right back. We know how much Mikel Arteta values that in his defenders. He has his specialists in William Saliba and Gabriel, players who are foundation pieces and very rarely play anywhere but the middle, but then the likes of Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Jakub Kiwior have been deployed in various positions across the back-line. I could be wrong, but it feels like he’s another one of those, a signing to bolster the right hand side of the defence.

It’s still to be completed, obviously, and we don’t know the full plan for him, but it’s the kind of signing that could have implications for Rob Holding. It pushes him further down the pecking order, and when you consider he’s going to turn 28 in September, you could probably make a good case that to fulfill his ambitions of playing regularly, he’s likely going to have look elsewhere. I think there are plenty of Premier League clubs who would take his experience, so that might be a knock-on effect of any new signing – and he’s a player I tipped to go in our transfer predictions on the Arsecast Extra last week.

What else we might do in the transfer market when it comes to the defence depends on two things now, I think. First – the fitness of Tomiyasu. He’s capable of playing anywhere across the backline, in both full-back positions and as a centre-half, so if he’s going to be ready for the start of the season, or at least not too far into it, that would be a big boost. I get concerns about his fitness, but to me he’s exactly the kind of player the squad needs. Good enough to start, but also provide that defensive depth if he doesn’t.

The second one is Kieran Tierney. It’s all gone a bit quiet with regards his mooted move to Newcastle, and there were suggestions that he might stay around. Whether that’s just part of the transfer dance, Arsenal not showing their hand to Newcastle, or Newcastle trying to bargain us down, I don’t know. If he stays, it’d give us experience and depth on the left, with Tomiyasu another option there, as well as Oleksandr Zinchenko, of course. I still have my suspicions that KT will go, which might require another addition for the left-hand side, but let’s see what happens.

Finally for this morning, congrats to Bukayo Saka who scored his first career hat-trick last night, as England beat North Macedonia 7-0. Hopefully he can get a nice rest now before pre-season, and look who was bigging him up after the game 👀

Right, that’s it for now. Have a good one, and we’ll have any further transfer developments over on Arseblog News.

Till tomorrow.

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