are growing increasingly confident of keeping Jurrien Timber with the defender harbouring one particularly significant concern about joining , according to reports.
Although new boss Erik ten Hag is prioritising signing a new striker and two new midfielders, he has also identified the back-line as an issue and was keen to be reunited with Ajax’s Talent of the Year Timber.
The Dutch champions are extremely reluctant to lose the 20-year-old, however, and have on the versatile defender – who can play at centre-back and right-back.
But agreeing a fee with Ajax may not be the hardest task facing United in their pursuit of Timber, with reporting that the Netherlands international is now leaning towards staying in Amsterdam.
Timber is conscious of the fact it is a World Cup year, with the tournament kicking off in November, and knows he must be playing regularly if he is to remain in Louis van Gaal’s squad.
But while he is assured of his place in the starting XI at Ajax, he is worried that will not be the case at United despite the presence of Ten Hag.
The Red Devils already have a plethora of senior, established centre-backs – with Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof – and Timber knows he faces a real fight for minutes at Old Trafford.
In different circumstances it would be a challenge he would embrace, but he cannot afford to be stuck on the bench at the start of the season or it will endanger his place at the World Cup.
Timber also has a big example of the pitfalls of swapping Ajax for Old Trafford, with Donny van de Beek having lost his place in the Netherlands team after joining United, where he barely featured under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick before being loaned to Everton.
In an interview earlier this week, Timber hinted at the possibly of snubbing United, saying: ‘Of course I can develop further at Ajax – I am 100 percent sure of that.
‘I don’t feel like I’m done at the club. But I can also develop at other clubs.
‘I am now focusing on the upcoming international matches and then go on holiday. Then I’ll have to think about it some more. In the end, my gut feeling will be the deciding factor.
‘The picture has to be right. You can go to a big club. But if you’re not going to play there, it’s better to stay with Ajax. And Ajax is also a big club.’
, ., and .