The departure of Dane Thomas Delaney to Borussia Dortmund was always going to leave a big hole in the Werder Bremen midfield, but the Grün-Weißen have gone some way to filling that gap with the capture of Dutch international Davy Klaassen from Premier League side Everton. The midfielder signed a deal with the north German side through June, 2022 and cost over just 12 million euros, about half of what Everton paid Ajax for his services last summer.
To say the past year has been a disaster for Klaassen would be an understatement, but Werder are hoping the 25-year-old can get his career back on track at the Weser Stadion. Capped 16 times by the Dutch national team, Klaasen scored 44 goals, with 30 assists in Eredivisie play for Ajax over 128 matches, and also brings Europa League and Champions League experience to the Werder squad.
Just over a year ago the midfielder was captaining Ajax in the Europa League final against Manchester United on the back of a great season, which had seen him score 14 goals and provide 9 assists. The Amsterdam club ultimately lost out on European glory, but key-man Klaassen did earn a big money move to England with Everton splashing out €27 million.
He arrived with a ringing endorsement from none other than Dutch legend Johann Cruyff. “You must have strong positioning, ability to control the ball at speed and also have the technique to deal with the speed of it [in midfield],” said Cruyff in an interview with Voetball International 2014.
“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.”
Those qualities however were rarely on show at Goodison Park and the player struggled to convince compatriot manager Ronald Koeman that he merited a starting berth. His confidence took a hit from going from first-choice at Ajax to third in the pecking order on Merseyside and last season was limited to a mere 251 minutes of league football.
When Koeman was sacked and replaced by Sam Allardyce, his chances suffered a further set-back. Werder’s Florian Kohfeldt and Frank Baumann however, believe the Bundesliga and the Weser Stadion can be the place for Klaassen to rediscover his Ajax-form and step into the shoes vacated by Delaney.
“We have found our ideal midfield player” explained Kohfeldt. “We have been watching him closely for a long time now and I am thrilled that we have managed to bring him here. Davy is a creative, athletic and aggressive player who is able to control the pace of the game. He will be a focal point of our team.”
The number 10 is also glad to have put his disappointing year on Merseyside behind him and believes Bremen is the place to revive his fortunes. “The interest I received from the club was definitely an important factor in my decision. I really wanted to know exactly what they wanted from me. I was convinced to join by the ambition shown by the club.
“I had a very good feeling after meeting Florian Kohfeldt and I want to prove that I can make a big impact here. The head coach wants to play a very open and attacking style of football and I am really excited about that.”
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