Jurrien Timber turned down Manchester United last summer only to join Arsenal this, with his €45 million arrival from Ajax nearing completion. Why did he elect against an Erik ten Hag reunion?

Ten Hag gave Timber his Ajax debut in 2020 and they went on to win the Dutch domestic double together at the end of that season, with Timber also breaking into the Netherlands squad.

Ten Hag brought Antony and Lisandro Martinez with him from Ajax at the start of last season for a combined €150 million, and he wanted to add Timber to that party, but the player said no.

READ: AGREEMENT REACHED: Arsenal to sign Jurrien Timber – the full details

There was speculation that former Man Utd boss Louis van Gaal told Timber his place in the Netherlands’ World Cup squad in Qatar that December wouldn’t be safe if he moved to Old Trafford, but that was denied by all parties.

Former Ajax and Netherlands star Urby Emanuelson has a more reasonable explanation.

Emanuelson: ‘I’d choose Arsenal’

“I know that the Timber family is very good at planning the careers of the brothers,” he said of Timber and his twin, Quinten, a midfielder at Feyenoord.

“I would choose Arsenal. Why? They treat young players very well there. If you see how they deal with [Gabriel] Martinelli, [Martin] Odegaard, [Bukayo] Saka… they are all guys who are allowed to make mistakes and are made important at the same time.

“Timber has the potential to become the absolute top. That’s why Arsenal would be a good step. Arsenal is growing, they will build on that.”

Ten Hag might point to the experience of Alejandro Garnacho last season to prove that Timber might have been given his chance at Old Trafford, and United’s 30-goal top scorer Marcus Rashford is also an academy graduate.

Timber should face competition at the Emirates, too. A centre-back who can also play right-back – one who plays on the right of a back three for the Netherlands – he has a similar profile to England international Ben White, who impressed in the role last season.

By Lylla

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