Jurrien Timber and Lisandro Martinez compared as Man Utd forced to switch attention

Manchester United’s summer transfer window continues to stall as they fail to sign anyone under new manager Erik ten Hag.

Ten Hag had been keen to bring Jurrien Timber with him to England but the Dutch defender has rejected all advances, meaning his Ajax teammate Lisandro Martinez has since become the next defensive transfer target for the Old Trafford hierarchy.

With United’s defence leaky last season, it seems Ten Hag is set on bolstering his backline. Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane still remain first choice pairing at the club but another central defender to compete for places wouldn’t go amiss.

But if Martinez is second choice to Timber does that make him good enough? Mirror Football compares the two players.

Jurrien Timber

Timber was influential in helping his Ajax side claim the Eredivisie title in 2021/22, of which he was a standout star in a defence that conceded just 19 goals in 34 league games. The 20-year-old is primarily a centre back but can also be deployed at right back, which adds to his versatility. His performances over the course of the campaign also saw him awarded Ajax’s Player of the Season.

Timber impressed with three goals and two assists last season, which showcases his attacking threat in the side, but his defensive statistics also exemplify the type of player he is. In the Eredivisie last season, Timber averaged the highest number of tackles for Ajax with 2.4 per game, as well as averaging 1.7 interceptions per game, according to whoscored.com.

Jurrien Timber averaged the highest amount of tackles per game for Ajax last season
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These may seem relatively low, but Ajax’s domination of the ball probably goes some way to explaining that. However, Timber still produced some of the best stats in the division for a player of his position and this should not be forgotten.

Nonetheless, the youngster highly impressed those who watched him, including Dutch pundit Kenneth Perez, who was quoted by Voetball Zone earlier this year, saying: “Timber is so damn good. Is he then the benchmark for Ajax? No, he is too good for Ajax.”

Former Netherlands international Ron Vlaar also told De Telegraaf : “He has almost seventy matches in Ajax to his name and played in the Champions League. I like to see that such a young player comes across so confident.”

Lisandro Martinez (left) and Jurrien Timber (right) have both been targeted by Man Utd this summer
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Who do you think would be the better signing for Man Utd between Lisandro Martinez and Jurrien Timber? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Lisandro Martinez

Unlike Timber, Martinez is a more experienced and seasoned professional at 24 and can be seen as a better, well-rounded defender within his centre-back position. The Argentinian formed part of Ajax’s solid backline alongside Timber last season and already has three years of top flight football under his belt.

With this experience in mind, Martinez would arguably make the step up to the Premier League more comfortably than Timber, and this would hopefully mean that the Argentine could hit the ground running and not need as much time to adapt to English football.

Despite being just 5ft 9in, Martinez can offer plenty of grit and leadership qualities in the heart of the defence and what makes him more attractive to the Red Devils is the fact he is a left-footed centre-half, of which he will become a more valuable asset and slot straight into the void that needs filling in United’s defence.

Lisandro Martinez won more than twice as many aerial duels than Jurrien Timber for Ajax last season
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As per The People’s Person, Martinez wins more than twice as many aerial duels than Timber per game (3.3 compared to 1.5), while he averaged 5.4 long balls per game in the Eredivisie (1.7 per game for Timber), which shows that his defensive statistics rank him above his Dutch team mate. He also scored once and recorded four assists last season.

Ten Hag himself has previously sung his praises for Martinez, with the Argentine capable of playing at centre back, left back and in a defensive midfield role. He said, via Manchester Evening News : “I find Lisandro Martínez an excellent player, he is actually starting material and this is why I talk with him a lot.”

Verdict

Although Timber had been the number one target this summer, Martinez is still a good signing. In fact, he would seem like a better fit for the Red Devils due to his three years of top flight experience, while he would slot straight into the defence as a natural left-sided centre back.

The Argentinian international will also come at a lower price, which is certainly a better deal financially if Ten Hag is looking to splash the cash on other players. But it is Martinez’s all-round game and natural ability that will be the main talking points should United get a deal over the line.

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