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Justin Kluivert and how a move to AS Roma makes sense

Jay Prasad
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
1.08K   //    26 May 2018, 14:27 IST

Excelsior v Ajax - Dutch Eredivisie
Justin Kluivert in Eredivisie

Justin Kluivert is one of the most exciting and entertaining young prospects in the footballing world today. Kluivert came through the AFC Ajax youth program and had his first professional contract with Ajax.

He made his Eerste Divisie debut with Jong Ajax (Ajax's reserve team) on 16 September 2016 in a game against MVV, replacing Vince Gino Dekker in the 67th minute, in a 1–0 away loss. Kluivert made his first-team debut in the Eredivisie on 15 January 2017 in a 1–3 away win against PEC Zwolle when he replaced Amin Younes in the 39th minute.

He scored his first Eredivisie goal on 19 March 2017 in an away match against SBV Excelsior, exactly 10 years and 1 day after his father's last career goal. The 19-year wonder boy has been prolific in the past two seasons, helping Ajax to the Europa League finals in the 2016-17 season and amassing 10 goals and 5 assists in the 2017-18 season.

The Netherlands international plays on the left wing, preferring his natural right over his left most times. His short height provides a low center of gravity, enabling him to dribble flawlessly. Good on the ball, Kluivert excels at short inter-passing and loves to cut inside and blast a few into the top corner.

His defensive contribution might be problematic for few coaches. His physicality needs a bit of strengthing too. His composure, dribbling and brilliance on the ball with the given age make him one of the future stars.

Undaunted by the comparisons with his father, the Ajax and Barcelona legend, Patrick Kluivert, the left winger has improved vastly over two seasons, attracting suitors from all over Europe. Justin has previously shown his desire to end up in Barcelona, a difficult task but not impossible for the youngster.

As Roma sporting director, Monchi is interested in signing the winger for a price of around 15-20 million Euros. The youngster has already expressed a clear desire not to renew his contract with de Godenzonen (Sons of the Gods) expiring in 2019 and his agent, Mino Raiola is said to have facilitated the deal for the Italian outfit which will see the agent gross a hefty profit. As per the reports, the player has agreed to the move and it is down to the clubs to agree on a fee.

Unlike their glorious nickname, The Ajax are Gods of the past and have become feeders to the current European powerhouses. The move looks highly likely and realistic for all parties. Roma currently has Stephan El Shaarawy and Diego Perotti to play as left wingers. Perotti,29, had a good season for the I Giallorossi, El Shaarawy,25, had a brilliant run with 7 goals and 4 assists in 25 games in Serie A. Kluivert may struggle for the first-team action initially. His young age will be instrumental in his development in the Serie A.

Statistically put, Kluivert averaged 2.7 shots, 1.6 key passes, 2.7 dribbles and 2.4 unsuccessful touches per game in 27 games. He averages 1.4 fouls on him per game and gets dispossessed 1.3 times. Comparing to El Shaarawy, who averages, 2.2 shots per game, 1.1 key passes and 1.1 dribbles per game. He fares better in keeping the ball with 0.8 dispossessions and 1.8 unsuccessful touches per game. El Shaarawy featured in 25 games in the Serie A. The statistics, in this case, don't validate a lucid comparison as Serie A and Eredivisie are miles apart in style of play and level of competition but they do highlight the immense potential the Ajax wonder-kid has at this tender age. Perrotti featured a meager 17 times in the league, with 8 appearances as a substitute and looks like the one to be succeeded by Kluivert.

A move to Serie A will see the cliched idiom, "like father like son" come true though Justin would want to better his father's run at Milan. Patrick had his Ajax coach, Louis Van Gaal, to bring him to Barcelona. The winger won't be that lucky though no one can deny that he would be a superb addition to I Giallorossi. Justin might have to make it on his own here but 2-3 brilliant seasons in the Serie A may ensure his dream move to Barcelona.

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Jay Prasad
CONTRIBUTOR
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