Ex-Ajax and Real Madrid midfielder Wesley Sneijder has previously questioned Arsenal target Jurrien Timber’s ability to adapt to the Premier League.
Speaking back in April, Sneijder said that he is a big fan of the Netherlands international but he feels that the defender has one major flaw in his game: his inability to win aerial duels:
“He’s a smart lad and a really good defender. But he loses every header and in England – against those wardrobes in the Premier League – that will be his downfall.”
With the Gunners closing in on a deal to sign the defender for around €48m (£41m), it is an aspect of Timber’s game that does need to be worked on.
The stats back Sneijder up
As we wrote in a post earlier this week, Timber’s aerial win % is very low. His ratio in the Eredivisie was just 47.4% last season, and that is probably not surprising considering he is 5ft 10.
Of course, one of his former teammates, Lisandro Martinez was also criticised for the same thing, being only 5ft 9, but the key difference is the Argentine does generally win his fair share of headers despite his height.
Arsenal have their own plans for Timber
While the Dutchman played exclusively as a centre-back for Ajax last season, he is unlikely to play in that position for the Gunners.
It is believed that Timber is being lined up for the right-back role, as competition for Ben White, and for that reason, there should be less concern about his aerial ability.
There are so many other aspects of his game where he excels that Arsenal believe he is worth signing. Other Premier League teams, including Manchester United and Liverpool, have also been linked with Timber, so it isn’t the case that Mikel Arteta’s side are going out on a limb by making a move for the defender.