Netherlands international Justin Kluivert has joined Champions League semifinalists Roma for a reported fee of around $24 million after a breakthrough season with Ajax. Supporters of the Amsterdam club will be livid with Kluivert after the 19-year-old spurned the advice of his father, Barcelona legend Patrick Kluivert, to join the Serie A giants.
After making his first team debut for Ajax during the 2016-17 season, Kluivert cemented his reputation as one of the most promising talents in world football by scoring 10 goals in 30 Eredivisie appearances last season. His hat-trick against Roda JC back in November was a thing of wonder, and he was rewarded for his club performances with his first international cap back in March.
Having established himself in the Ajax first team alongside other hugely promising talents like Matthijs de Ligt, 18, Donny van de Beek, 21, David Neres, 21, and Frenkie de Jong, 21, the club’s supporters could rightfully dream of another golden era in Amsterdam.
The promise of the side was reinforced by director of football Marc Overmars, who insisted that Ajax had no intention of selling its young talent, going as far as to say, “If we’re selling 18-year-old players, we might as well close down our youth academy.” This quote was a direct reference to both De Ligt and Kluivert.
What’s more, Patrick Kluivert revealed that he told his son to stay at Ajax, but the allure of Roma (and undoubtedly the sway of famed Roma director Monchi) ultimately proved too strong.
Justin Kluivert https://t.co/4IcKHPP635— AS Roma (@OfficialASRoma) June 11, 2018
“I personally said to him maybe it’s better to stay one more year at Ajax, to make some kilometers to be important for the team,” said Patrick. “He’s 19 years old. He’s still young but he makes his own decisions, and as a dad, I have to stand behind all the decisions that he makes. … If he’s got the feeling to leave then he’s got to do that, but he needs to know what things are coming on his way.”
As well as drawing the wrath of Ajax supporters, Kluivert joins a team that has no guaranteed place for him. Both Diego Perotti and Stephan El Shaarawy played on the left wing for Roma last season, although it’s rumored that Kluivert’s transfer will expedite El Shaarawy’s rumored transfer to the Chinese Super League.
With 20-year-old Turkish star Cengiz Under on the left and Kluivert on the right, Roma has an extremely promising wing duo now on the books.
The Justin Kluivert Roma transfer is also of interest to those who are closely monitoring Hirving Lozano’s European career. Lozano, who’ll turn 23 in July, scored 17 goals and added nine assists in 29 appearances for PSV, helping the club to its third title in four seasons.
Lozano has been recently linked with Chelsea, Juventus and Everton, and it’s evident that he’s not long for the Eredivisie. Some stellar showings at the World Cup wouldn’t hurt, but if Kluivert is of Roma quality, the sky’s the limit for Chucky.