Jurrien Timber Arsenal Transfer: How could the Gunners line up with the Dutchman?

After weeks of speculation, Arsenal have today had a bid accepted for Ajax defender, Jurrien Timber. Mikel Arteta has pursued the Dutch defender all summer as he looks to bring in reinforcements ahead of next season and the club seem to be on the verge of getting the deal over the line.

According to the reliable David Ornstein, Ajax have accepted a bid of €40m up front with a further €5m to be owed later down the line in largely realistic bonuses. The defender will now travel to London to undergo a medical and finalise personal terms before joining up with the Arsenal squad in time for their pre-season tour of the USA.

The signing of Timber will be Arsenal's third transfer of the summer with Kai Havertz already a confirmed signing and Declan Rice on the verge of joining the club. Their early business indicates that they are serious about going one step further next season in their pursuit of the Premier League title.

While Havertz and Rice come with Premier League experience, Timber is something of an unknown quantity to Arsenal fans. So, just how will he fit into the starting eleven at the Emirates Stadium? Let's take a look.

As an orthodox right-back

For Ajax, Timber has played both at centre-back and right-back in a fluid system. While he will likely play in both positions at different times for Arsenal, he is most likely to start off as a like-for-like replacement for Ben White. While there is no suggestion that White will be leaving Arsenal this summer, there is an acceptance that is an area where Arsenal could improve.

Before last season, White was known purely as a centre-back but put performed admirably as a right-back. If Timber is played at right-back for Arsenal then he will be more comfortable overlapping Saka on the right-hand side and he also has a better delivery than White. The added attacking threat of Timber should also allow Saka more space to thrive.

timber at rb

As a third centre-back in the current system

While Arsenal played a variety of systems last season, largely dependent on who was and wasn't available, they often looked at their best when they played Oleksandr Zinchenko as a hybrid left-back/central midfielder. It is a formation that has proved to be popular in recent yeas with Pep Guardiola often utilising it and Jurgen Klopp also adopting the idea at Liverpool at the back end of last season.

When teams play this system, the full-back on the opposite side to the hybrid player has almost no attacking responsibility. It is their job to effectively become a third-centre back to ensure the space left behind by the hybrid player isn't exposed by the opposition. Given Timber's technical ability and tactical nous, this could be the role that Arteta has in mind for his new signing.

timber right back

As a third centre-back in a new system

One final possibility for Timber is to take up the position of a third centre-back in a more conventional system. Mikel Arteta has played with a back five on several occasions during his time at Arsenal and he may well go back to it next season if he is searching for defensive solidity.

If Arteta does change formation then Timber would fit well as a right centre-back in a back five. It would allow him to show off his ball-carrying ability as he would have more space and responsibility to drive the ball into midfield, while he would also have a wing-back to play into. Timber's attacking ability could also lend itself nicely to the wing-back role, displaying just how versatile he is.

timber in a back five