Why Davy Klaassen Could Be The Best Signing Of The Season
Everton could not have kicked off their summer in a better fashion. There was a lot of speculation about how the club are set to lose two of their star players in Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku ahead of the next season as the two refused to sign extensions on their existing contracts. Many envisaged that it was going to be a difficult transfer window for the Toffees to cope with the departures of their two most important players.
However, manager Ronald Koeman has shown great urgency in getting the players he wanted, and has already strengthened the squad immensely. While Lukaku and Barkley are still set to leave, the club have shown great intent and have already snapped up an attacking midfielder to replace Barkley and are working on deals for a new striker.
The Toffees have confirmed three transfers early into the close season – goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from Sunderland for a club record fee of £30million, young attacker Henry Onyekuru from KAS Eupen (will be loaned to RSC Anderlecht), and the transfer that will have excited the most – the capture of a certain Davy Klaassen from AFC Ajax for a fee of £23.6million.
The 24-year attacking midfielder has been one of the best players in the Dutch footballing scenes in recent years and was the captain of the Ajax side which finished second in the Eredivisie and made it to the finals of the UEFA Europa League last season.
A thorough academy-bred lad with Ajax, Klaassen’s rise to success has been rapid and has been filled with a lot of hard work and dedication. Ajax has a tradition of churning out special young talents year after year, and Klaassen is one of the many specially skilled players to have made the grade to the first team from the academy.
The midfielder got his big break into the senior team after the departure of another special player – Christian Eriksen – to Tottenham Hotspur and the Dutchman filled the big boots of the Dane so easily, that the fans never missed Eriksen. While Eriksen continued his development into becoming one of the best playmakers in Europe, Klaassen was quietly making a name for himself back home, with some starry displays one after the other.
Despite Ajax’s recent struggles to emulate their glorious success in the past – the club hasn’t won a league title in three years, Klaassen has been dominating the headlines with his displays. This past season was easily one of his best, in terms of goal returns. Leading the team from the front, the captain managed an amazing tally of 20 goals and 12 assists from 50 games across all competitions for the Dutch side, as they came close to winning two silverwares. His performances were recognized and was duly rewarded by getting named as the Dutch Footballer of the Year.
His ability to pierce the defences with perfectly weighted passes for strikers to run into, combined with his top notch technical skills and the exquisite finishing to top it all off, it isn’t hard to see why the 24-year old is so highly regarded in the Dutch footballing community.
Someone, who can score in plenty and create in equal measure from the midfield, Everton seem to have struck gold with the Dutchman. This past season, Klaassen played in a slightly more withdrawn role in the middle of the park, than his usual No. 10 position and was still able to come up with the goods for his team, indicating that he could be a perfect fit the midfield three of the 4-3-3 that Koeman likes to deploy.
Having grown frustrated with Barkley’s inconsistent displays, especially after knowing and seeing his amazing potential, Everton fans will get to see a definite upgrade on the England international next season. At 24, Klaassen is still relatively young and has shown top class quality and also has accumulated a wealth of experience in European football too. The only way for the Dutchman from here is up, and he has the ability to take Everton to new heights.
While the Toffees have gotten a gem in Pickford, and with good chances of signing a new striker or two before the transfer window shuts (or they may end up holding onto Lukaku for another year), it is Klaassen that could turn out to be their most important transfer of the summer and could potentially turn out to be one of the best transfers of the season.