Knowing just what a force to be reckoned with Justin Kluivert is when on peak form from his time in LaLiga managing Rayo Vallecano, Andoni Iraola’s shrewdly made the flying Dutchman his first signing since joining Bournemouth.
Despite seemingly being around for ages and already featuring for Ajax, AS Roma, RB Leipzig and OGC Nice, the twice-capped Netherlands international is still remarkably only 24 years old.
Ready to embark on the next chapter of his career in the Premier League right as he’s coming into his prime, it’ll be intriguing seeing how he fares as he’ll join a select group of players to have appeared in all of Europe’s top five leagues.
With the Cherries set to play a high-octane brand of football under their new manager, Kluivert should be a brilliant fit to help bring Iraola’s philosophy to life.
“We are delighted to have made Justin our first signing ahead of the new season,” said Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake.
“He was coveted by a number of clubs across Europe and his arrival is a sign of his ambition, which is matched by ours. Justin is an exciting and versatile attacking player who has an eye for goal. He is pacey, direct and boasts a high level of technical ability.
“We are all very much looking forward to working with Justin, a player we believe will be a great addition to our squad and someone our supporters will enjoy watching.”
Proving over the years that he can adapt to a wide array of systems and coaching styles, plus play in a variety of offensive positions both wide and centrally, this will give his tactically sophisticated boss many options on how to use him.
To start with his movement, and his electric speed and acceleration ensures he’s a major threat when running in behind, into the area and down the channels, plus when embarking on blindside runs into the area and motoring upfield in transition.
Great at timing and directing his bursts as he waits for the ball holder to be ideally situated to spot him, this, in combination with how he uses his dynamic advantage over forward facing opponents, elevates his menace.
Look for him to also get dangerous between the lines and in the half spaces following rotations with his nearby full-back, and due to his understanding of where to position himself to form overloads, with his awareness and smarts primed to shine through.
Familiar with the overload-to-isolate principle, which Iraola should look to implement, this will enhance his danger, for he relishes every opportunity to be isolated with opponents.
Possessing blistering pace and hulking strength, plus oozing class on the dribble, the Dutchman with immense balance and a low centre of gravity is a hugely challenging proposition for any defender to handle 1v1.
Riding challenges superbly to continue his momentum, adept at winning fouls and frequently drawing multiple foes to create space for teammates, these are key aspects of his armoury as well.
Elite with his ball control, first touch and at adjusting his receiving posture depending on the situation, the tricky maestro, who can outfox challengers with neat changes in pace and direction and crafty manoeuvres, is never an easy man to contain throughout an entire clash. Indeed, watch for him to use his aptitude here to cut infield or go around the outside to work quality crossing and shooting openings.
Taking a major step in the right direction with his goal scoring last year, where his eight strikes propelled him to his best scoring season since he left Ajax for AS Roma in 2018, he’ll be looking to build on this, for he’s definitely got a neat arsenal of finishes from range and close to bulge the net.
Meanwhile, in terms of his passing, this amplifies his nuisance, with his crossing and cutbacks on both feet making him a handy chance generator. Composing and setting himself nicely before striking his deliveries cleanly, his vision and how he tailors his deliveries to oblige runners accompanies the above wonderfully.
Moreover, the way he can partake in slick interplay in confined zones, thread polished through balls and hit line breaking passes adds to his worth.
It also warrants mention that his speed to harry targets and understanding of pressing and defensive mechanics, that he’s learned over the years working alongside a host of smart tacticians, should hold him in good stead to contribute admirably here too.
A major goal threat, adept at generating chances for colleagues and a real game-changer on the dribble, the son of former legend, Patrick Kluivert, unquestionably adds another element to the Cherries’ plans going forward.
Ready to slot right in to Iraola’s fast-paced, vertical and attackingly geared system, all the signs are positive this transfer will be a success once he acclimatises to his new environment.
Given he’s played for five different clubs in the last five years, finding his feet shouldn’t be an issue at all in his quest to hit the ground running and take the Premier League by storm within Iraola’s exciting, new-look Cherries outfit.