Ryan Gravenberch – Ajax Youngster a Future Star
Born in Amsterdam, the Dutch youngster seems destined for greatness; Gravenberch joined the club in 2010 and rose to progress at a fast rate winning the under-17 European Championship and awarded the Abdelhak Nouri award recognising the most talented young player in the academy.
With this much success in the academy, it was clear he was following similar footsteps as some of the best young talents in football, also stemming from the Ajax academy including De Ligt and Sergiño Dest. The Ajax academy is well known for producing some of the producing greatest Dutch internationals like Sneijder, Van Basten, Seedorf and Johan Cruijff.
With such a rich history of young academy superstars, Gravenberch proved his talent as a young professional making his debut at aged 16 and 130 days, becoming the youngest player in the club’s history to play for Ajax beating Clarence Seedorf by 112 days.
The 18-year-old made a lasting impression on both coach and fans, becoming a first-team regular in the Eredivisie this season playing 24 games for Ajax. Despite playing as an attacking midfielder in the academy, under Erik ten Hag, he has adjusted his playing style to become more defensive, with an average of 1.1 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game.
But it seems that his promise comes first and foremost in his ability to pass the ball, averaging 70 passes a game and having an 87% in the league, which is higher than Henderson and Kante at 86.5%. With the main strength in his game being his ability to pass the ball, there is no surprise that he also has been a contributor to goals this season with four goals and six assists in all competitions there is no surprise about the increase of his market value.
At such a young age, there is no doubt there will be a constant increase in interest from large clubs with reports from TeamTalk that ‘Barcelona are also long-term admirers of Gravenberch, who would cost around €30m’. Barcelona has a reason to show so much admiration for the 18-year-old, with his involvement in winning domestic trophies in the 2018/19 season. With Gravenberch’s, European experience from both the under 17 international and 6 Champions League games and 3 in the Europa League.
With rumours also suggesting that Serie A giants Juventus may be interested there is no surprise that many have likened the 18-year-olds talent to that of Paul Pogba, which he has recognised in an interview with NOS ‘’I hear that continuously,’… ‘I recognise that, we are the same types.’ But he went on himself to compare his ability with Zinedine Zidane.
A move with Juventus or Manchester United wouldn’t be unexpected with Gravenberch sharing the same agent as Paul Pogba Mino Raiola would probably be able to use his relationships with both clubs it’ll potentially link a move to one of those clubs.
With a move to either one of those giants, you’d be surprised that it would excel his career to the next level. Despite their interest, he has personally stated that his only interest would be to play with Lionel Messi. But he also told reporters that he is “Good at Ajax”, so it may seem until an offer by the Balgrana is presented, you’d like to think he will be happy to remain in his home city.
I believe a player of his ability could waste his opportunity to grow if he doesn’t remain in the Eredivisewith a team like Ajax, well known for its development of young talent. With his contract expiring in the summer of 2023, you would appreciate the youngster completing the remaining time on his contract to avoid losing valuable game time.
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