Rio Ferdinand has urged Manchester United to make a move for relegated Norwich City right-back Max Aarons while dismissing concerns about Jurrien Timber’s lack of height.
Erik ten Hag was introduced to the media for the first time by the Red Devils on Monday; just a day earlier, the Dutchman was in the stands at Crystal Palace, watching his new side suffer their 12th defeat of a disastrous season.
Fortunately for United, West Ham’s defeat against Brighton means they placed sixth and will compete in the Europa League next season, despite finishing 35 points behind champions City.
Ten Hag has a lot of work to do and is expecting a busy summer transfer window, with a slew of players leaving (Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, and Jesse Lingard are all out of contract) and a slew of fresh faces arriving.
United’s defense conceded 57 goals last season, more than relegated Burnley, and Ten Hag is looking for defensive reinforcements, with a new right-back reported to be on the club’s priority list.
Ferdinand believes Aarons, who might be available for a bargain after Norwich were relegated, meets all the boxes and could be the kind of understated addition United has lacked in recent years.
Ferdinand revealed on his Vibe with FIVE YouTube show: ‘Someone like Max Aarons, you could position him like a Chris Smalling-type signing where they come in and have an impact.’
‘They may not be direct starters right away, but they go and remain for 10 years and have a really wonderful career and touch the club at different levels.’
United have also been connected with a move for Ajax center-back Timber, who was named the club’s Talent of the Year, though there have been doubts about how well suited the young Dutchman would be to the brutality of the Premier League.
Ferdinand, on the other hand, believes Ten Hag’s football philosophy and style of play might make Timber’s lack of height irrelevant, and that height does not always determine how good a player is in the air.
‘I believe the way Ten Hag’s playing, looking at it, it’s like, “We’re going to be the aggressor, we’re going to be the side that dictates and dominates the games,” he continued. As a result, he intends to play on the halfway line.
‘He isn’t wanting to play in a deep block, so he isn’t considering [Timber’s height]. One thing he’ll have to consider is that the physicality of the Premier League is significantly different from what he’s seen in Holland.
‘So defending crosses, you might be 5ft10, we saw Patrice Evra, he was probably 5ft3 but he was one of the finest ball headers when we were performing defensive set-pieces – and he was a threat in the opposing area as well.’ So it can be done, but only time will tell whether he is that guy.’
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