Should Manchester United Buy Jordy Clasie and Sell Tom Cleverley?

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Should Manchester United Buy Jordy Clasie and Sell Tom Cleverley?
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Should Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal buy compatriot Jordy Clasie from Feyenoord and sell struggling midfielder Tom Cleverley

To cover that hypothetical scenario, here is a scouting report on Clasie, a 23-year-old, 5'7", 150-pound Dutch international. 

Clasie Can't-Miss Prospect? 


Starting in central midfield against Brazil at the 2014 FIFA World Cup third-place play-off, Clasie was solid in the biggest game of his promising career thus far. 

Outplaying Brazilian defensive midfielders Fernandinho, Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo in the Netherlands' 3-0 win, Clasie showed he is ready to thrive in one of Europe's major leagues.

Like a honey badger, it is not the size that matters but rather the will.

Clasie played with determination and drive, accumulating four tackles and four interceptions.

 Player Tackles Interceptions
Fernandinho 3 0
Luiz Gustavo 0 1
Jordy Clasie 4 4
Paulinho  1 3


A midfield general on the field, Clasie possesses extraordinary kicking talent to imperiously pass into traffic and find his man.

This was illustrated when Clasie's incisive pass circumvented not one, not two, but three NAC Breda players to put then-Feyenoord (now Southampton) centre-forward Graziano Pelle through on goal.

Even facing a congested midfield, Clasie gutted Cambuur's defence with a perfectly timed lofted through ball to Feyenoord central midfielder Tonny Vilhena.

Ecuador's defence were penetrated by Clasie's Xavi-esque pass to Dutch centre-forward Robin van Persie.

Set-piece assists against NAC Breda and Twente showed Clasie's class in dead-ball situations.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

League Only Jordy Clasie Tom Cleverley
Assists 7 0
Key Passes Per Game 1.2 0.5
Passes Per Game 57.3 51.7
Pass Completion % 84.6 89.6
Long Passes Attempted/Long Passes Completion 128/177 84/107
Long Pass Completion % 72.3 78.5

Cleverley lacks the passing talent and the vision to be a creative outlet like Clasie. 

Instead, Cleverley bases his playing style around Tiki-taka football. 

"If they [Spaniards] pass the ball sideways but keep possession, the fans clap them," Cleverley said, per Oliver Holt at the Daily Mirror. "But sometimes I have got to not listen [to criticism] and play my game because I feel I'm doing the best thing for the team."

Cleverley is a risk-free passer, but he is dispensable to United considering Swansea City's Jose Canas, a modest Spaniard, does a better job keeping possession. 

League Only Jose Canas Tom Cleverley
Assists 0 0
Key Passes Per Game 0.1 0.5
Passes Per Game 62.4 51.7
Pass Completion % 90.8 89.6
Long Passes Attempted/Long Passes Completion 100/118 84/107
Long Pass Completion % 84.7 78.5

Meanwhile, Clasie is a disruptive presence to opposing teams. 

By the time PEC Zwolle left-back Rochdi Achenteh turned, he had the ball stolen by Clasie, who was rapid in closing down Achenteh.

Clasie led Feyenoord in tackles (102) and was second (62) behind Feyenoord centre-back Stefan de Vrij in interceptions (64). 

League Only Jordy Clasie Tom Cleverley
Tackles Per Game 3.2 2.2
Fouls Per Game 1.3 0.7
Tackles Per Foul 2.4 3.0
Interceptions Per Game 1.9 1.5
Possessions Won Back Per Game 5.1 3.7

Bottom Line

Cleverley is a limited footballer who by his own admission is not "going to beat three or four people" or "go round tackling people like Roy Keane."

Translation: Don't expect me to flick the ball over my marker, take the ball past another player and complete a through ball to my teammate like Clasie.

Cleverley would be a valuable cog for a mid-tier Premier League team, whereas Clasie can develop into a world-class midfielder.

That is why Van Gaal should be open to bringing Clasie to United and selling Cleverley to the highest bidder. 


Statistics via

Follow Manchester United from B/R on Facebook

Follow Manchester United from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Manchester United

Subscribe Now

By signing up for our newsletter, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Thanks for signing up.