Erik ten Hag picked Jurrien Timber as Ajax's Talent of the Year and the centre back has starred for Holland aged 20... so, after he was compared to Matthijs de Ligt, is the defender the answer to Manchester United's woes?

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Jurrien Timber could be the perfect transfer target to bring stability and composure to Manchester United's struggling defence as new boss Erik ten Hag looks to rebuild the squad.

The 20-year-old Ajax centre back has been heavily linked with a £43million move to Old Trafford this summer to follow in the footsteps of his former boss ten Hag.

Timber has already become a star for both Ajax and for Holland - but is still relatively new to the world stage. 

Sportsmail takes a look at what he could potentially offer United, if they are successful in signing the young star.

Ajax defender Jurrien Timber has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United

The 20-year-old defender Timber has already become a star for both Ajax and for Holland

The 20-year-old defender Timber has already become a star for both Ajax and for Holland

Who is he? 

He is a 20-year-old defender who is already a star for both Ajax and internationally for Holland, despite only bursting onto the scene recently, with last season being his first campaign as a regular starter.

Timber, who made his debut back in 2019 for the Dutch giants, is a hugely composed individual and this mental quality played a key role in Ajax's title success this season. 

Ten Hag's side shipped 15 less goals (19) than any other team in the 2021/22 Eredivisie campaign with Timber starting all but five league matches. 

The Holland international played a key role in Ajax's Eredivisie title success during 2021/22

The Holland international played a key role in Ajax's Eredivisie title success during 2021/22 

Eight of the 19 goals they did concede came in the five games the Netherlands international didn't start, which further signifies his influence at the back in Ajax's title winning campaign.

The defender despite his young age is a regular for the Dutch giants, and also has made six caps for Holland already - featuring at Euro 2020 and more recently being involved in the squad that has qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Timber made 43 appearances for Ajax in all competitions last season, including eight Champions League caps. He provided three goals and two assists across the campaign.

The youngster was even awarded Ajax's Talent of the Year prize, which has been running since 1994 and named after legendary striker Marco van Basten, to their most impressive youngster.

The winner of the award is decided by the club's technical staff with the call to hand the award to Timber described as a 'no brainer' by the now departing Ajax boss, according to Voetbal International.

Erik ten Hag (left) insists it was a 'no brainer' to hand Timber (right) the Talent of the year award

Erik ten Hag (left) insists it was a 'no brainer' to hand Timber (right) the Talent of the year award

Style of Play 

The 5'10 defender is not the biggest, but what stands out is his distribution from defence, which is key to the way incoming United boss ten Hag likes and demands his teams to play.

The Dutchman demands his teams to dominate opponents and Timber was a key factor behind him being able to achieve such a style of play last season.

Timber ranked first for both possession (66.6 per cent) and pass success rate (84.7 per cent) in the Eredivisie, according to

.

Timber's distribution, passing and possession from defence is the style of play he is known for

Timber's distribution, passing and possession from defence is the style of play he is known for

The youngster also finished third for passes per 90 (79.9 per cent) and returned the best pass success rate (91.5 per cent) in the Dutch top tier, and this allowed Ajax to dictate the tempo on their way to landing silverware.

The huge question mark is will he be able to bring the style and composure to the Premier League, which is known to have more of a physical edge than the Eredivisie. 

Timber has predominantly played at centre back for Ajax, but can also be deployed at right back, which could perhaps be an easier way for ten Hag to help him adapt to English football.

Where will he fit in?

Considering United conceded 56 league goals this season, six more than 18th-placed Burnley and just three fewer than Everton in 16th, the defence needs help.

A player of Timber's quality could walk straight into the starting line-up, providing he adapts to the competitive nature of the Premier League, as well as its speed and physicality.

However, he will have to compete with the likes of Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, and Victor Lindelof, if he is to start at centre back.

Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are expected to be off-loaded in the summer, but if they are unable to do so, they will remain other threats in the squad for that position.

Given Maguire and Lindelof's poor form this season while Varane, who joined from Real Madrid last summer, injury history - it doesn't seem hard to see Timber slotting right in at centre back.

Boss ten Hag could also decide to use him at right back if he wants to get Varane and Maguire back in-form and also help him slowly adapt to the Premier League - rather than throwing him straight in at the deep end.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is another that was massively out of form this season, meaning the right back position could also work well for Timber, as ten Hag will be looking at all his possibilities to improve the backline. 

New United boss ten Hag will be looking at all possible ways to improve the current defence

New United boss ten Hag will be looking at all possible ways to improve the current defence

Who else is interested?

United are the heavy front-runners, given ten Hag knows exactly what Timber is capable of and having worked with him, it seems the most sensible move.

Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich have also expressed an interest, which could prove to be a stumbling block for the Red Devils, especially if the defender wants to continue playing Champions League football next season. 

According to Sky Sports Germany, Bayern's technical director Marco Neppe has already held talks with Timber's entourage. 

Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich have also expressed an interest in Ajax's Jurrien Timber

Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich have also expressed an interest in Ajax's Jurrien Timber

The German champions are keenly following his situation, but it remains to be seen whether a move will take place this summer.

Even the new United boss, when asked previously about taking Timber with him to United, said: 'I think all the top clubs in Europe have Timber in their sights. But I think that applies to a lot of Ajax players at the moment.'

It is not even out of the question that he remains at the Dutch giants, given his brother could be heading back to the Johan Cruyff Arena this summer.

His twin brother Quinten Timber could return to Ajax, which might tempt him to stay in Holland

His twin brother Quinten Timber could return to Ajax, which might tempt him to stay in Holland

His twin brother Quinten is in the frame to make a return to Ajax after leaving on a free in summer 2021.

Jurrien was promoted to the first team at the start of 2020, but Quinten needed a little more time to develop and couldn't make it at first.  

Quinten joined FC Utrecht where he had a really good first year, which has opened the eyes of all the big clubs in Holland, including Ajax, Feyenoord, and PSV.

A possible reunion could be a tempting offer to keep Jurrien from joining United or Bayern, but it seems unlikely he will turn down a move, with his brother's return only being speculation at present. 

What people have said about him

Most Ajax fans have compared Timber to former captain Matthijs de Ligt after waiting for someone to fill the void that was left when he opted to join Serie A giants Juventus back in the summer of 2019. 

Eurosport Netherlands' Kevin Van Nunen has previously stated: 'If you ask any Ajax fan they will tell you Jurrien Timber is the natural successor to Matthijs de Ligt.

'The comparison with De Ligt is of course an easy one. But sometimes easy is good. De Ligt is already forgotten… because now Ajax has Timber. 

'Ajax never looks back, but instead always to the future and the future is secured with Timber. Timber runs the show at the back, together with Lisandro Martinez.'

Most Ajax fans have compared Jurrien Timber to former captain Matthijs de Ligt (pictured)

Most Ajax fans have compared Jurrien Timber to former captain Matthijs de Ligt (pictured)

United fans are raving about the potentially signing of Timber and took to social media to give the signing the seal of approval.

One Twitter user wrote: 'Always rated Jurrien Timber but rated him even higher after TheEuropeanLad said he's "one of the best things that happened to Ajax" and most recently called on Louis van Gaal to drop de Ligt and pair him with van Dijk at the World Cup. Glad ten Hag wants him at Man Utd.'

Another added: 'If we get Timber, that's a very good step in the right direction. 

While one wrote: 'I'm not that bothered about Antony, but Timber, man we got to do everything we can to sign this guy.'

But United have also been previously urged not to sign Timber by Dutch legend Ruud Gullit.

Former Chelsea star Gullit doubts whether Timber has what it takes to cut it in the Premier League.

'I think Timber is a very good player, but whether he can be a defender in England...' Gullit told Ajax Showtime.

'You also play against Burnley and West Brom. The top seven strikers are all world-beaters.

'I think he is a very good footballer, but I have my doubts about whether he is a good defender.'

Dutch legend Ruud Gullit (pictured) has his doubts over Ajax defender Timber, however

Dutch legend Ruud Gullit (pictured) has his doubts over Ajax defender Timber, however

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