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Davy Klaassen 20

Even allowing for the big-money transfers that brought Romelu Lukaku, Yannick Bolasie and Morgan Schneiderlin to Everton over the preceding four years, for Evertonians accustomed to years of enforced austerity at Goodison Park, the events of 15th June, 2017 spoke to a significant shift in the club's modus operandi.

Just hours after Jordan Pickford had been unveiled as the most expensive goalkeeper in British history when he signed from Sunderland for £30m, Everton announced the arrival of Davy Klaassen in a deal worth £23.6m, shattering the club's record outlay for a single day's activity.

At 24, the departing captain of Ajax represented the kind of youthful, long-term acquisition that the club would need as Ronald Koeman embarked on the next phase of his "project" at Everton. A goalscoring midfielder capable of operating from box-to-box, he also offered not only the kind of versatility favoured by the Dutch but a vital injection of potency behind the strikers that the Blues had been lacking in Koeman's first season in charge.

A product of Ajax's famed youth academy, he rose through the ranks, won the national Johan Cruyff Prize for Talent of the Year and was handed the responsibility of replacing Christian Eriksen when he left for Tottenham Hotspur in 2013. Although he didn't prove to be a direct replacement for the Dane's creativity, Klaassen would ultimately demonstrate more all-round strengths.

He captained the Amsterdam side to the Europa League final in 2017 and the runners-up spot in the Eredivisie, finishing a point behind champions Feyenoord. His performances in both competitions — he scored 14 times in 33 league appearances and registered nine assists from attacking midfield — attracted plenty of attention and he was linked with some of the top six clubs in England.

It was Everton and their Dutch connection in the form of Koeman who made the first serious move and it turns Klaassen was sold on the idea of making the switch to Merseyside.

”I am delighted to sign for Everton and I have a good feeling about the club that was apparent when I went there yesterday," Klaassen told NOS in an interview. ”I spoke to Ronald Koeman a couple of weeks ago and my feeling about Everton was positive and he spoke about the plans that the club have for the future and the role that I will play.

”Everton is the only club I spoke to in regards to a transfer. I could have also waited until the end of the transfer window but if I have a good feeling I go for it."

Renowned in Holland for his quick thinking, technique, and reading of gthe game, he is also adept at picking a pass while being a clinical finisher for a midfielder in the Tim Cahill mould of being able to find space in the box.

They were qualities that were not lost on the late Dutch legend, Johann Cruyff who compared Klaassen to some of the very best among his contemporaries.

"You must have strong positioning, ability to control the ball at speed and also have the technique to deal with the speed of it," Cruyff said of the Hilversum-born player. "Xavi, Toni Kroos and Davy Klaassen can do it. All three have perfect anticipation and they can play it both left and right excellently.

"You watch, when Klaassen plays from that position for Ajax, the tempo increases immediately. Moreover, he rarely loses possession.”

Nonetheless, Klaassen would have plenty to prove in the gruelling environs of the Premier League, particularly given that he struggled to influence matches against top-class opposition in the Champions and Europa League campaigns in 2016-17, although it should be noted that the entire Ajax team suffered a degree of stage fright, particularly in the Europa League final against Manchester United where they lost 2-0 in fairly comprehensive fashion.  

  

FactFile

Squad number 20
Position Central Midfield
Nationality Netherlands
Born Hilversum
Date of birth 21 February 1993
Height 5' 10" (1.79 m)
Joined 15 June 2017
Joined from Ajax
Signed by Ronald Koeman
Transfer fee £23.6m
Contract duration 5 years
Contract expires June 2022
Full debut v Ruzomberok (H)
27 July 2017
Previous Clubs Ajax
» Soccerbase Datafile
» Wikipedia Entry

Everton Career

Season Squad No. League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2017-18 20 3 (1) 0 5 (2) 0 8 (3) 0
  Totals 3 (1) 0 5 (2) 0 8 (3) 0


Previous Career

Seasons Team Appearances (sub) Goals
2011-2017 Ajax 117 (9) & 34 (3) 44 & 5


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