It now appears extremely possible that the following everlasting supervisor of Manchester United will probably be Erik ten Hag, with the membership in superior negotiations with the Dutchman. The Manchester Night Information understands that he has been the popular candidate for a number of weeks, however it’s now clear that he’s the person to take the membership ahead over the likes of Mauricio Pochettino.
Pochettino’s excessive launch price of round £15m together with Paris Saint-Germain’s struggles this season put him out of the operating for the job and made Ten Hag the excellent candidate. The work, nonetheless, doesn’t cease right here for United and they’re going to want to start placing the construction in place for the Dutch supervisor to succeed.
A part of this can come down to transfers and United are in want of reinforcements throughout the board. One such participant could possibly be Ajax central defender Jurrien Timber, who Dutch journalist Mike Verweij mentioned is without doubt one of the gamers that Ten Hag will probably be trying to deliver with him to Outdated Trafford.
Centre-again, although, is one among United’s most strengthened positions, even when Eric Bailly and Phil Jones depart this summer season, so the membership spending critical cash on such an space is unlikely. However what if Timber, who has performed without any consideration-sided centre-again for almost all of his profession, could possibly be the membership’s reply to their full-again problem.
In Ten Hag’s Ajax system, the total-backs take up two totally different roles. One is tasked with enjoying increased up the sector, appearing as a extra attacking ingredient. Within the Dutchman’s present group that is Noussair Mazraoui, who is on the market totally free this summer season however appears possible to be part of Bayern Munich, as per Fabrizio Romano.
In United’s present group this may be Luke Shaw, who has not set the world alight along with his objective and help numbers within the Premier League, however his underlying numbers paint the image of a participant who would thrive in a system that makes him a vital piece of the assault. Ten Hag can supply him this function.
The opposite full-again slot is normally occupied by former United defender Daley Blind. The Dutchman has develop into a key member of Ten Hag’s squad since he returned to Amsterdam from United in 2018.
Blind is normally required to keep again and makes the again-4 right into a again-three in possession. He then makes use of his elite passing capacity to break the strains of the opposition and progress the ball, like a quarterback enjoying with the entire subject in entrance of him.
It is a key a part of Ten Hag’s tactic because it protects his defence when Ajax lose the ball and in addition permits for extra creative and direct passing from the again. And on this function at United, Timber might thrive.
Now your first query is perhaps ‘why cannot we simply play Timber at centre-again’ and my reply is, peak and physicality. Timber stands at 5’10” and is not the strongest and although centre-backs have succeeded despite these limitations in the past (Blind a good example), playing him at right-back would minimise these weaknesses while still allowing the team to best use his strengths.
According to FBref, Timber ranks among the highest in his position for progressive actions, with 5.39 progressive passes and 6.46 progressive carries per 90 minutes. When you compare this to Blind, he is lacking with 10.88 progressive passes and 6.15 progressive passes.
But to put it lightly, Blind is the best in the world when it comes to progressive passes from full-back, beating out the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Timber ranks well above average for both, so it shouldn’t be an issue for him to play the role to a good standard. Obviously, there will be a transition period, but with the entire team adapting to Ten Hag’s style of play he will not stick out as a problem in the short term.
Overall this is just a theory and if Ten Hag has plans to sign Timber and bring him with him to Old Trafford he will have a plan for him, but as starting right-back he can cover at centre-back while Diogo Dalot is a more than capable deputy. But with a number of positions needing to be addressed, it is not a priority in the transfer market.