It’s been a difficult start to life at Everton for Davy Klaassen. The former Ajax captain was one of eight new recruits Koeman signed in the summer.
The £24.3m transfer fee seemed a hefty amount to part with at the time, but when you consider Oxlade Chamberlain was bought for £40m (around £39m over his market value) in the same window, it’s safe to say The Toffees got themselves a good deal.
Klaassen made an emotional return to Ajax on Sunday to bid farewell to the fans ahead of their home game against Vitesse Arnhem. In what was a hero’s welcome, Klaassen did a lap of honour around the pitch and signed autographs whilst fans sang his name and held a-loft banners reading ‘Thank you Davy’. The media team had even put together a moving montage of all his best moments for the club.
It was a stark contrast from just 24 hours before in which he played in front of a flat Goodison Park crowd, who’s only Klassen-related comments was to ask the person next to them had anyone ever seen him and Steven Naismith in the same room?
He could have been forgiven for wondering whether he had made a massive mistake in leaving Ajax for Goodison? But then, he was reminded that the four times European Cup winners just aren’t very good these days, after they were beaten at home 1-2 by Vitesse.
Get yourself back on the flight to Merseyside Davy before somebody at Everton finds the receipt!
So far, Klaassen has made very little impact for Everton, making just nine appearances across all competitions, assisting just one goal and playing a full 90 minutes just once, which came in the Carabao Cup against Sunderland.
He was substituted off the pitch against Bournemouth Saturday after just 55 minutes when the home side were 0-1 down. Both Tom Davies and Oumar Niasse came off the bench to set up and score both goals that turned the game on its head and secure the three points for Everton, further throwing into doubt Klaassen’s place in the team.
Right now, low on confidence and belief, Klassen looks a shell of the man who scored 49 times in 139 games for Ajax.
Given Klaassen’s slow start, many have been quick to write off the 24-year-old’s future on Merseyside. Just remember the quality required to succeed at Everton and in the Premier League is a massive step up from what is currently required when playing for Ajax in the Eredivisie.
Many similarities have been drawn up between the transfer business of Everton post the sale of Lukaku and Tottenham’s efforts after Gareth Bale went to Real Madrid in 2013.
Well it’s worth pointing out that for all the flops that signed for Tottenham that summer, they also bought a young attacking midfielder from Ajax called Christian Eriksen.
After a similar slow start, Eriksen flourished into Tottenham’s star man that season and has since became one of the Premier League’s most creative midfielders.
As the excuse-makers will tell you, it takes time to settle and deal with the physicality of the Premier League. It’s an overused statement, but still a very true one.
With three Eredivisie titles to his name and with the experience of leading his team to the final of the Europa League last season, he has the winning knowledge and indeed mentality that Koeman was so eager to bring in this summer.
It’s still early days, but whether it takes sending tulips to his house, building windmills in his garden or maybe just some time and patience, Everton potentially have a great player in their ranks. Let’s hope the Goodison faithful give him time to show it.