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Just who is: the Arsenal target heralded as the next Bergkamp

| 10.12.2013

Arsenal sent a scouting party out to the Netherlands to watch 20-year-old Ajax midfielder Davy Klaasen turn in a stellar display against NAC Breda, that suggested comparisons to Gunners great Dennis Bergkamp aren’t ridiculously wide of the mark.

Despite their wildly convergent domestic form Arsenal still sit alongside Manchester United at 18/1 in the Champions League outright betting.

Like Bergkamp, the 20-year-old has refined his footballing palate at the legendary Ajax academy and similarly to the Oraanje hero his career with the ‘Sons of the Gods’ has begun in a midfield role rather than as a striker.

However, unlike Bergkamp – who began life as a winger – Klaasen has been shining in the engine room for gaffer Frank De Boer this term, where he’s benefitted from playing time in the absence of injured skipper Siem De Jong.

In scoring on his first-team debut in 2011/12 he similarly outpointed the callow Bergkamp, while emulating Ajax legends of even greater magnitude in Marco van Basten and Johan Cruyff.

The Emirates talent-spotters were treated to a virtuoso performance that saw the youngster leave with the match ball as his hat-trick sunk NAC.

It was a star turn that earned him goal.com’s world player of the week accolade, beating Mario Balotelli and Franck Ribery in the process.

Klaasen’s treble came in the wake of a welter of fine performances in the white and red shirt during this campaign, with the wider world alerted to his qualities during his side’s 2-1 win over Barcelona.

While his scoring feats will be comparable to some of Berkamp’s most productive in Amsterdam, if he continues plundering goals at this rate, the creativity implied in the comparison has yet to make itself statistically obvious.

Klaasen has yet to assist a goal in seven starts and three substitute appearances across Eredivisie and Champions League action this term, playing just eight key passes in total.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Thomas Reynolds