Connect in the back of the net

Well, for the people who have followed my articles on O-Posts (if so, thank you), you will know I have had an article on Anwar El Ghazi and whether he was ready for the step up and another concerning the Sergio Ramos to Man United rumors. This article is a mix of those two.

Because today I will be looking to see if Jasper Cillessen, Ajax’s number one keeper, is a suitable replacement for the rumoured to be departing David De Gea.

But first let’s have a look at his career thus far.


Career thus far

Cillessen was born and raised in Nijmegen and was later scouted and signed by NEC Nijmegen’s own football club at the age of 12.

He made his debut in 2010 and impressively won the man of the match award in that match vs Heerenveen. He stayed between the sticks from that match onwards and also ended up winning Gelderse Player of the Year (Gelderland is a big part of Holland).

At the start of the 2011/12 season, Cillessen left for Ajax for an estimated fee of 3 million Euros — something which now can be seen as a very good piece of business by the Amsterdammers.

For the first few seasons, he was a backup keeper behind Kenneth Vermeer and it was not until the 2013/14 season, where Vermeer went through a very bad spell, that Cillessen became the club’s first-choice keeper.

That summer he was also first-choice keeper of Louis Van Gaal’s Holland side that reached the semi-finals of the World Cup tournament in Brazil and  where he was remembered for that iconic moment when Van Gaal replaced him right before the penalty shootout against Costa Rica for Tim Krul.



Before I proceed, a big thank you to Rowdy Sibrandi and Rowan Nahar — two people who have helped me with this and the Anwar El Ghazi article.

Just as with my Anwar El Ghazi piece I spoke with a few of my friends, who are Ajax season ticket holders, to see what they thought of Cillessen and his strengths and weak points.

And on this occasion, they were more positive remarks about Cillessen than the views in regards to El Ghazi.

From what I have heard and seen, Cillessen’s main strength is that he is very calm on the ball and a reliable outlet to pass back to as a last-man defender. He also has very strong reflexes and is excellent in dealing with crosses.



The main weakness, which has been well-documented, is that Jasper Cillessen has NEVER saved a penalty. Hence, the reason Louis Van Gaal substituted him in ‘’that’’ quarter final vs Costa Rica.

This weakness may have also been noticeable in the semi-final shootout vs Argentina, where 2 penalty’s were saveable in my opinion.

He also is quite inconsistent with his kicking, but that’s only a concern when he takes goal kicks not when the ball is in play as previously mentioned.


Ready for United?

Yes, I do foresee a David De Gea-esque start if he were to be thrown into the line up straight away but with Victor Valdes there I do not see this happening.

But the question for me is: Is this a smart step for Jasper Cillessen himself?

With Victor Valdes and Man Utd, it would be very hard to break through into the first team and a long spell on the bench could be disastrous for Cillessen’s development.

Is Cillessen ready for the Premier League and a step up from the Eredivisie? Yes. Are Man United ready for Cillessen? No.


Written by Jamie De Geir

Follow Jamie on Twitter @evertonianjamie

Like O-Posts on Facebook

You can also follow O-Posts on Twitter @OPosts