Netherlands international Jurrien Timber has become our second signing of the summer after joining from Ajax.
The 22-year-old defender is a two-time Eredivisie winner and has also featured for his country at both Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup, but how much more do you know about our latest recruit?
To help get you up to speed, here are 12 facts you may not know about our new number 12:
Jurrien has four brothers, including a twin, Quinten, who plays for Feyenoord. Quinten won his first Eredivisie title last season - a trophy Jurrien had lifted in the two previous seasons as the Timbers kept the Dutch championship in the family.
There is another footballer in the Timber family, too - older brother, Dylan recently signed with VVV-Venlo in the Dutch second tier and has been capped once by Curacao.
Jurrien’s place of birth is Utrecht, and our new signing isn’t the only famous sportsperson to hail from the Netherlands’ fourth most-populated city.
Dutch legend Marco van Basten, one of the Netherland’s foremost footballers, and sprinter Dafne Schippers, an Olympic silver medallist and two-time world champion over 200 metres, were also born in Utrecht, as was Anton Geesink, who won a judo gold medal at the 1964 Olympics.
Jurrien has both Aruban and Curacaoan roots - his mother Marilyn is from Aruba and their father is from Curacao, with both islands part of the Dutch Caribbean which is located just off the coast of Venezuela.
He often visits the Caribbean in his downtime away from football, and in the past has named the region as his favourite holiday destination.
Seeing De Ligt
Jurrien looked up to fellow defender Matthijs de Ligt when rising through the ranks at Ajax, who had made his first-team debut four years before Jurrien would get to pull on the famous red and white shirt of the Amsterdam club.
De Ligt, like Jurrien, is a graduate of Ajax’s academy, and while he went on to play for Juventus and Bayern Munich, Jurrien would get the chance to play alongside his role model at both Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup.
Rising through the ranks
Jurrien played youth international football for the Netherlands at under-15, under-16, under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels before being called up to the national side by Frank de Boer ahead of Euro 2020.
He won his first full cap in a 2-2 draw against Scotland in June 2021 - a match in which Kieran Tierney also started. He has since won 15 caps, including four at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar where his team reached the quarter-finals before being eliminated by eventual winners Argentina.
Haven’t we met before?
Jurrien was part of the Dutch European Under-17 Championship-winning squad in 2018, when he first encountered a couple of future Gunners teammates.
The Netherlands played against England in the semi-final, with Jurrien going up against both Bukayo Saka and Folarin Balogun. It proved to be a game to remember for our new defender, who scored the opening goal in the final and also converted from 12 yards after the match went to penalties.
In fact, all three of the Netherlands’ knockout matches at the tournament went to shootouts, with Jurrien scoring from the spot in all three to help them to the silverware.
First goal, first title
Despite not finding the net within a year of his professional debut, Jurrien ended up picking the perfect time to score his first senior goal, which came against Emmen on May 2, 2021.
Playing at centre-back, he was heavily involved in the build-up before firing in a shot from the edge of the box to open the scoring in an eventual 4-0 win that confirmed Ajax as Eredivisie champions for the 35th time, and saw Jurrien claim the first major honour of his career.
Having made his Ajax debut back in March 2020 and going on to play 30 times the following campaign, 2021/22 proved to be Jurrien's breakout season as he came to prominence in his homeland and afar.
In addition to lifting a second Eredivisie title, he won the league's Player of the Year and Talent of the Year awards, as well as Ajax's Talent of the Year. Those accolades also helped him claim the Curacao Player of the Year for 2021.
When Jurrien is handed his Arsenal bow by Mikel Arteta, he will become the eighth Dutch player to feature for our men’s first team - but you might not know that our history with the nation stretches back almost a century.
Goalkeeper Gerry Keyser made 12 league appearances under Herbert Chapman in our first-ever title-winning season in 1930/31, and like Jurrien also featured for Ajax before going on to play for his national side, starting a trend that has seen fellow countrymen Glenn Helder, Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Robin van Persie and Nacer Barazite also feature for us.
After breaking into the Netherlands side, two of his defensive colleagues were quick to spot Jurrien's talent. “I was never that good at his age,” said Virgil van Dijk, while teammate at club and country Daley Blind added: “I don’t need to explain how good he is."
However, perhaps the biggest piece of praise came from the legendary Van Basten: “Ajax is playing great football thanks to Jurrien Timber and the national team is playing great football thanks to him, too,” he has said of his fellow Utrecht native.
From Amsterdam to Arsenal
Jurrien is not the first defender to join us from Ajax - that would be Thomas Vermaelen who also made the move in the summer of 2009, and went on to make 150 appearances in our colours, scoring 15 times between 2009 and 2014.
The road between Amsterdam and north London is a well-trodden one, with Overmars also making the switch ahead of our double-winning campaign in 1997/98.
A new number
Jurrien is our new No. 12 - and becomes the eighth player to have worn the number for us this century, including Thierry Henry who famously donned it in his second coming back in 2012.
The other six players to have been handed it are Lauren, Carlos Vela, Olivier Giroud, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Willian and William Saliba, who has now switched to the No. 2 jersey ahead of the new campaign.
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