Everton made a huge statement of intent on Thursday by splashing £54million on signing Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Ajax captain Davy Klaassen.
Pickford has become the most expensive British goalkeeper of all time, with his transfer potentially costing £30million following a season in which he was one of the few shining lights for the relegated Black Cats.
Klaassen is a much more unknown quantity in England but is coming off the back of an impressive campaign which included captaining Ajax to the Europa League final.
“The moment that I spoke with the manager directly I got a good feeling,” Klaassen said. “He is an honest guy, we talked about the club, about the way he wants to play and that gave me a positive feeling.”
Everton boss Ronald Koeman added: “He is a player who is only 24 but has a lot of experience and is a leader on the pitch. He has already captained Ajax for two seasons and that shows you the type of person he is.
“He is hardworking, likes to press and, of course, will give us more creativity and goals.”
Klaassen’s arrival casts Ross Barkley’s Everton future into further doubt, with the England international yet to sign a new contract at Goodison Park, and we’ve compared the two players’ stats from the 2016-17 league campaign.
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— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) June 15, 2017
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Klaassen’s statistics in front of goal are very impressive, with the Dutch international bagging 14 goals and contributing a further nine assists in his 33 league appearances last term.
In comparison, Barkley managed just five goals and eight assists with his average of a goal or assist every 223.77 minutes well down on Klaassen’s record of one every 123.96 minutes.
It must be noted, however, that many players have been prolific in Eredivisie before struggling to replicate such figures in the Premier League.
While Klaasen appears a much more productive attacking threat, assist statistics are not always a fair reflection on how many chances a player creates, given opportunities may go to waste due to profligate finishing from team-mates.
While Klaassen’s nine assists came from an average of 1.8 chances created per game, Barkley actually bettered that record, creating 2.3 chances per game.
Barkley’s goal tally appears even worse, however, when it is taken into account that he averaged 2.4 shots per game, with Klaassen scoring nine more goals from only 1.8 shots per game.
One of Barkley’s strengths is his dribbling ability, and that is reflected in the 23-year-old completing 60.7% of his 2.8 dribbles per game, whereas Klaassen was successful with just 50% of his 0.8 dribbles per game.
The new arrival also comes up short in terms of passing. Barkley recorded a passing accuracy of 82.5%, with 0.8 attempted crosses and 3.1 long balls, whereas Klaassen completed 80% of his passes, despite attempting fewer crosses (0.1) and long balls (1.1).
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While attacking midfielders are generally rated on their offensive contributions, Koeman demands his forwards work hard in defence as he tries to implement a high press.
Koeman hinted at Klaassen’s defensive work-rate upon the capture of his compatriot, and the stats reflect well on the £24million man.
Klaassen won 69.6% of the 2.3 tackles he attempted per 90 minutes and also averaged 1 interception per match.
Barkley on the other hand, only won 42.1% of 1.9 attempted tackles, while he only averaged 0.3 interceptions per game.
In terms of end product and defensive work, Klaassen appears to have the upper hand on Barkley.
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