Manchester United have had what can only be described as a Jekyll and Hyde start to the season. Erik ten Hag’s opening two Premier League matches in charge against Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford ended in two defeats, with six goals conceded and only one scored.
The Dutchman must have wondered what exactly he had signed up for in coming to Old Trafford, but then came a crucial victory against a stagnant Liverpool; and looking back, it feels like that was the catalyst for their current run of four successive wins, which leaves them just three points off the summit.
With new signing Antony settling in well with a debut goal against Arsenal, plentiful summer transfer business and an ever-growing confidence, you could forgive the United faithful for maybe getting a bit carried away – and it might well get better…
Ten Hag could be given a glimmer of hope, though, with the 21-year-old recently discussing his future as he said: “Whether agreements have been made to make a transfer next year? That’s the intention, yes, but you never know how it will go. But that has been discussed well together with Ajax.”
With Timber’s apparent intention to leave Amsterdam, the United manager will surely be looking at making him one of his transfer priorities next summer; and the youngster, who Ajax value at €50m (£43m), would be an upgrade on Harry Maguire.
The Englishman – who has been dubbed “laughable” for his performances for United amid a series of errors – is earning a staggering £190k-p/w, and Timber would be a cheaper and better alternative on just £24k-p/w currently.
The Dutchman provides a bigger goal threat from defence, scoring three times and grabbing two assists in 2021/22, whereas Maguire only scored once all season. Timber also won more tackles (44 to 26), attempted more passes (2,267 to 1,563) and won a higher percentage of ground duels (69.43% to 59.38%) than the ex-Leicester centre-back last season.
Timber was ever present in an Ajax defence which conceded just 12 goals and kept 16 clean sheets. Compare this to Maguire’s stats in the United team – with only six clean sheets and 41 goals conceded on his watch, it’s clear to see who is the more reliable out of the two at the heart of defence.
Ten Hag should be making his move to sign Timber as soon as possible, as the 21-year-old could well be the missing piece of his jigsaw in his new-look Red Devils team, also enabling him to bin the hapless Maguire in the process.