So often in recent years Everton’s transfer business has been both disappointing and reactionary with players only arriving after key sales have been made.
Ronald Koeman’s first summer in charge saw significant arrivals and his second is continuing in much the same manner with Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen both signing on Thursday.
The latter is a truly top quality addition with the Dutchman having captained the impressive Ajax team which reached the Europa League final last season.
It seems as though Klaassen will be Ross Barkley’s replacement but Everton’s decision to bring him on board before any sale is confirmed is a move in the right direction.
Strong negotiating position
Everton know they are going to lose both Barkley and Lukaku this summer but courtesy of Farhad Moshiri’s investment the club are no longer dependent on receiving transfer fees before they can complete their own business.
Now don’t get me wrong the money recouped from those two high-profile departures will cover the cost of the vast majority of the Toffee’s signings this summer but crucially Everton now do not need to wait for that, they find themselves in a strong negotiating position.
As a result Koeman will have players with him by the time pre-season starts and will be able to work closely with them and be as prepared as possible by the time the Premier League kicks off again in August.
Technically gifted and versatile
Pickford addresses a key area of need with Everton’s goalkeeping spot their weak point last term however in Klaassen they are bringing in a playmaker with the absolute highest technical ability.
As with every player who comes through the famed Ajax youth system, the 24-year-old is comfortable on the ball and doesn’t find it difficult to pick out a pass.
He isn’t as naturally gifted as perhaps Barkley in the sense of how the English midfielder can make things happen out of nothing but Klaassen is both more consistent and more precise, something Koeman will appreciate.
Goalscoring midfielders are a rarity in modern football with so many players looking to be the next Frank Lampard. In his last two seasons at Goodison Park, Barkley has scored 12 and six goals respectively whilst Klaassen has netted 15 and 20 in all competitions over the same period.
Now what is worth pointing out about Klaassen’s goal tally in the 2016/17 season is that six of them came in European competition, a far higher standard of football than the Eredivisie.
Everton’s own Europa League campaign will be interesting to follow with the club having historically struggled to manage domestic and continental football, at least in the modern era. Koeman has to boost the depth in his squad with quality and Klaassen certainly does that.
Crucially he is adept at playing numerous positions and this is something we will undoubtedly see as the season progresses. His best role is that just behind the striker, linking the midfield and attack with consummate ease, however he can also drop into a central midfield position in a not too dissimilar way to that of another Ajax alumni, Christian Eriksen.
If there is a crisis, then the Dutch international is also capable of filling in up front.
There is a great degree of industry within Everton’s first-team with the hard work of Idrissa Gueye the heartbeat of the club’s midfield, but the arrival of Klaassen introduces some genuine stardust.
Those in Holland rave about his technical ability with the late Johan Cruyff known to have been a huge advocate of his talents. In a column he wrote for ‘De Telegraaf’ a number of years ago, Cruyff suggested that Klaassen could be compared with both Xavi and Toni Kroos.
This is the level Everton are aspiring to be at and Klaassen’s arrival signals change is coming to Goodison Park both in terms of playing style and results.
The Dutchman is a fairly cheap acquisition at £23.6 million and in the current market fans may be concerned by this; however the playmaker is a quite extraordinary talent and will shine on Merseyside.
Written by Chris Winterburn
Follow Chris on Twitter @Chriswin4
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