Scouting report on Arsenal target Davy Klaassen, the 'new Bergkamp'

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2013

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 6:  Davy Klaassen of AFC Ajax in action during the UEFA Champion League group stage match between AFC Ajax and Celtic FC held on November 6, 2013 at the Amsterdam ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Anoek de Groot/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
EuroFootball/Getty Images

According to a report in The Daily Mail, Arsenal are tracking Ajax's promising young star Davy Klaassen. The newspaper claims that Gunners scouts were present as Klaassen scored a hat-trick against NAC Breda on Saturday.

Klaassen, 20, has been on the scene at Ajax for some time. He is a product of the Amsterdam club's legendary youth academy. This is the very same footballing school that produced Johan Cruyff, Wesley Sneijder and even Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp.

He actually made his debut in the Champions League, coming on as a substitute against Lyon in November 2011.

His league debut came just five days later, and he made an instant impact, scoring within a minute of entering the field of play as a sub. In scoring on his league debut he followed in the footsteps of Cruyff, Patrick Kluivert and Marco van Basten. Within a month he had made his first senior start.

He was continuing to star at youth level too. In March 2012, an Ajax side dispatched Liverpool by six goals to nil in the NextGen Series semi-final, and Klaassen was the undoubted star. Wearing the iconic No. 10 shirt and the captain's armband, Klaassen scored twice as his team took the Anfield club's U-19s apart.

At that stage, it seemed as if his progression to first-team regular would be seamless.

However, during the 2012-13 season, injuries and competition for places saw Klaassen sink back in to the shadows. Klaassen was limited to just three first-team appearances. Only this season has his star begun to explode.

Klaassen has grown in to his body and looks ready for the challenge of senior football.

This season, he has played regularly in the Eredivisie and even made two starts in the Champions League. He recently played the full 90 minutes as Ajax overcame Barcelona 2-1 in Amsterdam.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25:  Davy Klaassen of Ajax celebrates after scoring a penalty during the NextGen Series Final between Ajax U19 and Inter Milan U19 at Matchroom Stadium on March 25, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

His numbers are mightily impressive. According to WhoScored, Klaassen has seven goals from 13 starts. That scoring ratio becomes even more impressive when you consider that all of his appearances have come from central midfield.

Coach Frank de Boer has said:

Davy is an attacking midfielder who can play centre forward. He’s definitely very talented. Moreover, he’s a smart guy.

Klaassen's capacity to operate in the gap between midfield and attack has earned him the sobriquet 'the new Dennis Bergkamp'.

However, the comparison is somewhat lazy.

Bergkamp was a player who dropped off in to space, looking to play the final pass. Klaassen is more of a runner from deep. His goalscoring midfield style is actually more akin to an early day Paul Scholes, or some of the recent displays from Aaron Ramsey. His versatility and intelligent touch, meanwhile, are comparable with that of Swansea City's Michu, although he lacks the Spaniard's stature and physicality.

If Klaassen were to move to Arsenal now he would face a difficult fight for a first-team place. He is probably best served by remaining with Ajax for the time being. However, with rumours of a potential World Cup call-up, it won't be long until big clubs like Arsenal are ready to snatch him away.

James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013/14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.


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