Timber sees similarities between Arsenal and Ajax

Our new signing Jurrien Timber believes his playing style is perfectly suited to Arsenal and the Premier League.

The versatile defender – who can play centrally, on the right or even in midfield – has made the move to north London after being ever-present in Ajax’s Eredivisie campaign last season.

Overall the 22-year-old made more than 100 first-team appearances for Ajax after joining their academy aged 13, and became a senior Netherlands international in 2021 while still a teenager.

Mainly operating at centre-back for the Dutch giants, Jurrien said he watched a lot of Arsenal’s games on TV last season, and is confident he can make a smooth transition to English football.

“I can see a lot of similarities, especially in the way Arsenal and Ajax want to play,” he said. “Of course, this is a bigger league and everything is bigger here, I can see that immediately. This is the way they teach you in the youth already, and I'm happy I got to learn that at Ajax.

“I think also that's the reason they bought me and they want me, because they know I can play this style. And now it's for me to show everyone and also in the Premier League that I can do the same things.”

Right-footed, fast and comfortable in possession, Jurrien is a progressive defender, who played more passes into the final third last season (399) than any other central defender in Europe’s top five leagues.

He won the Eredivisie title in each of his first two seasons in the Ajax first team, but couldn’t make it a hat-trick last season, as Feyenoord topped the league for the first time since 2017. That’s the club where Jurrien started his career, and where his twin brother Quin – a midfielder – returned at the start of last season.

“I'm used to playing with him,” Jurrien explains, as the two were together at Ajax after leaving Feyenoord as teenagers, “but the last couple of years, last two, three years, I played against him.

“And last season we played for the title, he won, so good for him, not so good for me! But it's fun, it's nice, and I think it's special, especially for my mum.”

The two were living together during that title race, in fact sharing a room, having grown up together representing the Netherlands youth teams at every age group from under-15s to under-21s.

The two of them won the European Under-17s Championships together in 2018 (taking on Bukayo Saka and Folarin Balogun’s England in the semi-final) while Jurrien has since progressed to full international honours, and made four appearances at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Now though our new defender just has domestic football on his mind: “My first game in the Emirates, that's something I look forward to, but also the Premier League. That it's not only the home games to see the supporters of Arsenal, but also the away games, I'm just excited to be here. I'm excited to play.”

Watch part two of our first interview with Jurrien by clicking play on the video above, with part one seeing him discuss his initial reactions to move, and why he supported Arsenal as a youngster.

You can also find out much more about our new recruit by learning 12 things about our new number 12.

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