The Dutchman has stormed into the Ajax side this season and has scored in his last three league fixtures, prompting Arsenal to send scouts to last Saturday’s game with NAC Breda. Currently deployed in a central midfield three, Klaassen can also play in a more attacking central position. This, combined with a similar skillset, has led to inevitable comparisons with Arsenal and Ajax legend Dennis Bergkamp.
Whilst both Arsenal’s interest and the youngster’s career are both still at an early stage, we take a look at the latest teenage prodigy to emerge from Ajax’s famed academy.
Despite playing in midfield on the main part, Klaassen has scored six goals in his eight appearances this season – a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that he has only completed 90 minutes on four occasions.
The 20-year-old possesses intelligent vision and movement, as well as two good feet. His coach, Frank De Boer, said the following:
“Davy is an attacking midfielder who can play centre forward. He’s definitely very talented. Moreover, he’s a smart guy.”
On Saturday, he demonstrated his talents with three well taken goals. Unsurprisingly, this also won him the Squawka man of the match award. As well as his goals, Klaassen also made a respectable 88% of his passes in the 4-0 win, and completed three successful take ons.
Producing three clinical finishes, Klaassen showed calmness in front of goal and intelligence in his movement. Ghosting into the area for all three goals, his third goal was particularly reminiscent of Bergkamp.
Klaassen was surrounded by defenders and appeared to have little on, but showed excellent movement to find a pocket of space, before exhibiting a perfect touch to pluck a long ball forward out of the air and round the keeper to score.
Klaassen is a tidy technical player, who is good with both feet. He has created 3 chances in his two Champions League appearances this season, amounting to 1.5 per game – the best average of any Ajax player in the competition.
Such quick feet and speed of thought has helped him complete 73% of his attempted take-ons this season, as well as seeing him fouled 11 times over the season.
Klaassen has been deployed as a central midfield player in Ajax’s 4-3-3 formation this season, a role in which he has revelled. His heat map from his latest game shows the areas covered, and only one Ajax midfield player has made more passes than Klaassen over their last three league games.
Far from being a passenger striving for a more forward thinking role, Klaassen has been heavily involved from midfield. Not bad for a 20-year-old, whose future is seen by many to be further up the pitch and who has also notched five goals over the same period.
The fact that he has broken into an Ajax side that have won back to back European games and sit 2nd in the Eredivisie, in a central midfield role is an achievement to be applauded.
It remains to be seen what his best position is, and talk of a transfer to a big side may prove to be premature given that he has started fewer than 15 league games for Ajax. However he does possess undoubted talent, making him one to watch in the future for Arsenal fans craving a new (non) flying Dutchman.Published 11 Dec 2013, 04:15 IST