Scouting Report: Jurrien Timber
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Ajax is a top club in the development of young and promising footballers. Each transfer market is able to replace transferred players with rising stars produced at home or scouted from all corners of the world. An example of homegrown production is certainly Jurrien Timber.

Jurrien Timber is a 21-year-old Dutch defender (17/06/2001). He starts as a right centre forward, but can play in any defensive position, having played as a right-back or defensive midfielder under Erik ten Hag. Timber arrived at Ajax from Feyenoord in 2014 and, after spending six years in the youth ranks, joined the first-team dynamic just before the pandemic period. He has now established himself as a starter, having played 84 professional games for Ajax (4 goals) and an important part of the Dutch national team.

Timber stands out as a great modern defender who is skilled with the ball. For a team that has a high percentage of ball possession in every match, having a defender like Jurrien who is comfortable with the ball at his feet is a key factor, knowing how to control the pace and when to keep the ball, finding the best solution in every game situation. He usually tends to draw pressure from opponents, giving time and space to teammates to create optimal passing lanes to build play. Once he finds space, he does not hesitate to verticalise, his high precision in progressive passes being one of his strengths. His powerful ball handling and technical ability allow him to overcome the pressing if he gets close enough, representing another great weapon to gain metres in the opponent's field. In fact, he is one of the defenders who makes the most successful passes and progressive dribbles in the top 5 European leagues.

Timber fits perfectly into a dynamic high-pressing team like Ajax. He pushes the team forward on the counter-attack and his technique allows him to anticipate the opponents' play by intercepting the ball. His physicality allows him to establish a high defensive line, as he is quick enough to recover metres from the opponent backwards. This style of play leaves the defence very exposed to one-on-one duels, so having a reliable and anticipatory defender like the young Dutchman in one-on-one duels is crucial.

He is a tenacious defender who stands out for his tactical intelligence, constantly aware of what is going on around him. This allows him to make effective covers for his teammates and command the defence, showing great leadership for a 21-year-old footballer. His defensive attitude is intense and aggressive. Timber is a constant nuisance for attackers, pressing or following the goal even before he has received the ball, making proper control difficult. Although he is not extremely tall and strong, he knows how to use his body, which, added to his timing, allows him to win many possessions for his team. When necessary, he often makes a strong tackle, recording one of the highest sliding tackles in the Dutch Eredivisie.

Despite being one of the best emerging players, he has many aspects to improve on to become a complete defender. Aerial duels are one such aspect: for a central defender, it is crucial to have a high percentage of aerial duels won, while Timber barely earns half of the aerial duels he is involved in. In addition, Timber tends to be overconfident in his abilities with and off the ball. Trying to stay focused and give 100 per cent on the pitch with every ball can help him become a top defender and succeed in football's elite.

Jurrien Timber has recently performed at an extraordinary level and is a clear example of a modern defender, capable of playing the ball and defending at a huge level. The young Dutchman is in the sights of many elite European clubs and will give a lot to talk about in the years to come.

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