Rio Ferdinand reveals who Jurrien Timber will replace & says Arsenal need one more signing.
Rio Ferdinand believes Jurrien Timber is an improvement on Arsenal’s current centre-backs and expects him to replace Gabriel Magalhaes in the Gunners’ starting XI.
The north London club have agreed a fee with Ajax worth £36million, plus a further £4m in add-ons, and he is set to fly to London imminently to undergo a medical and put pen to paper on a long-term contract.
Timber had been expected to compete for the right-back role with Ben White, but Ferdinand expects him to continue in his usual centre-back position even if it means breaking up a partnership that looked very solid last season.
Speaking about Timber on his FIVE YouTube show, Ferdinand said: ‘Manchester United were in for him before they got Lisandro Martinez.
‘They didn’t manage to get that deal done but he was one of the players that was being earmarked by Erik ten Hag – who obviously fancies him as a player, rates him highly obviously, had him at Ajax.
‘He’s quick, he can play, he’s good on the ball and he’ll be a good addition to their team. I think he’s an improvement on what they’ve got as well. I’d probably look at it and say Timber and William Saliba would play.
‘But I think it’s a good battle there. If Timber comes in and they’ve got Saliba, Gabriel, Ben White and Timber as a four, I’d be very, very comfortable with that if I was Mikel Arteta and think, “That’s a good four”.
‘I think you need three or four good centre-backs that are all going to interchange and play at different times of the season; to come in and the standard doesn’t drop off.
‘And I think that’s what they’ll be looking at there with them four. He’ll be a great addition, can play in different positions as well.’
Despite Arsenal’s massive summer splurge, Ferdinand still feels the squad are missing a right winger to provide cover and competition for Bukayo Saka – who looked exhausted during the run-in at the backend of a gruelling season.
He added: ‘I still think maybe you need one more, an attacking player, to cover those positions, especially the wide areas.
‘Kai Havertz maybe could dovetail out there at times, but I think you still need one. I think you can’t afford to let Bukayo Saka play another full season not missing any games.
‘He may have missed one or two here and there, but he played too many games last season for a young kid, he’s going to burn out. I think you need to save him a little bit and have moments where you pull him out of the team and there won’t be a big drop-off in output.’