Manchester United could resurrect their interest in Ajax defender Jurrien Timber in the summer transfer window.
The talented 21-year-old was the subject of intense speculation after Erik ten Hag became the Red Devils’ manager.
It was thought that the manager was keen to bring Timber with him from the Eredivisie champions as he looked to reshape United’s ailing defence.
Lisandro Martinez was brought in instead but given that the Argentine fills the role of the left-sided centre back in the backline, signing Timber would not have been seen as contradictory.
Nevertheless, the Dutch defender ended up signing a new contract with Ajax, although he only signed a one-year extension to take his deal to 2025, suggesting that a move in the near future would remain a possibility.
And according to journalist Dean Jones, United have not cooled their interest in the player.
“It’s definitely got to be a possibility,” Jones told Give Me Sport, when speaking of the possibility of a summer switch to Old Trafford.
“You look at the Lindelöf and Maguire situations. It’s pretty likely one of those two leaves, at least.”
Victor Lindelof is still called upon occasionally to fill in for Raphael Varane, but despite Harry Maguire’s impressive World Cup campaign with England, he remains far down the pecking order at United.
Ten Hag has even opted to use Luke Shaw at the heart of defence in Lisandro Martinez’s absence before turning to either of his backup centre halves, suggesting a lack of faith in the pair.
With Timber being a player he knows well – which has lately been a strong factor in United’s recruitment policy – there is every chance he may turn to his former player to replace the pair.
Maguire, in particular, has been linked with a transfer. West Ham and Aston Villa are both reported to have shown interest in the January transfer window, but were rebuffed in their approaches, with United lacking squad depth.
Still, a summer move remains on the cards for the club captain and Timber would be an ideal replacement. He is also young enough to serve as an understudy to Raphael Varane, and versatile enough to provide cover at right back, or even holding midfield, meaning he would get plenty of gametime.
It could be something of an obstacle should Ten Hag wish to bring in another left-footed centre back to cover Lisandro Martinez, however, given that United will need reinforcements higher up the pitch before looking to bring in another pair of defenders.
Martinez is the only left-footed centre back in the squad and as Ten Hag prefers to field a left-footer on the left of his defensive pairing, that could prove to be an issue.
One solution may already have presented itself in the form of Luke Shaw, who impressed while deputising for Martinez while he was celebrating Argentina’s World Cup triumph.
If Shaw continues to be used in that position, it could allow United to bring Timber to Old Trafford and still have the funds to land a marquee centre forward and a first-team midfielder.
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