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Jasper Cillessen to Barcelona: Latest Transfer Details, Comments and Reaction

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2016

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 16:  Goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen of Ajax in action during the UEFA Champions League Play-off 1st Leg match between Ajax and Rostov at Amsterdam Arena on August 16, 2016 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Netherlands international goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen completed his move from Ajax to Barcelona on Thursday.

The Blaugrana confirmed the deal on their official Twitter feed:

FC Barcelona 🏆🏆 @FCBarcelona

This morning @JasperCillessen passed his medical tests and will be officially presented on Friday #CillessenFCB https://t.co/NBjBz0XTJ7

In a statement on the club's official website, it was noted Barcelona paid €13 million (£11.12 million) plus a potential €2 million (£1.71 million) in add-ons for the goalkeeper. 

Cillessen leaves Ajax after five years at the club, having joined from NEC in 2011. During his time in Amsterdam, the 27-year-old won three domestic titles.

The Oranje star has opted for a new challenge, though, and will be keen to continue his success with his new employers. Here is what Barcelona fans can expect from their new man between the sticks:

Cillessen has been making steady improvements during his time at Ajax and has become one of the continent’s most reliable stoppers. In terms of his distribution, reflex saves and sharpness off his line, the Dutchman excels, and those traits were likely key in Luis Enrique bringing him to the Camp Nou.

These numbers from OptaJohan illustrate the former Ajax man’s pedigree when it comes to shot-stopping:

OptaJohan @OptaJohan

81% - Highest save % for Eredivisie GKs since 2013/14 (min. 30 games): Jasper Cillessen: 81% Jeroen Zoet: 75% Warner Hahn: 73% Coveted.

At Barca, Cillessen will have big shoes to fill, with Claudio Bravo set to join Manchester City, per BBC Sport. The Chile international has been a vital component in Enrique’s setup, playing in league matches, helping the side to two titles and giving the Blaugrana a composed presence at the base of the side.

Nevertheless, his replacement is likely to face a major battle to get minutes, with the highly rated Marc-Andre ter Stegen surely set to be given more of an opportunity this term. The Germany international, like Bravo, is excellent with the ball at his feet in addition to his many goalkeeping talents.

While Cillessen has plenty of talent, Spanish football journalist Sergi Dominguez isn’t convinced:

Sergi Domínguez @FutbolSergi

I don't know how Barça can go from chasing Diego Alves to Cillessen. No correlation at all. One a fantastic GK, the other very average.

There are some areas of the Dutchman's game that he will need to improve on, most notably when it comes to physical tussles with defenders and claiming crosses. In La Liga and for a team like Barcelona, that’s not an area that’ll be as ruthlessly exposed as it would have been in a more combative league, though.

This switch is a chance for Cillessen to prove he belongs at an elite-level team. While he’s been considered just below the top tier of goalkeepers in Europe, he’s not had the chance to frequently test himself in one of Europe’s top divisions. This is his opportunity to do so.

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