Meet David Neres, Ajax's brightest prospect in years
Have you ever heard the name David Neres? If not, that’s fine. Despite the fact he is up there amongst the top prospects in the Dutch Eredivisie and arguably the most promising young player in Europe, there has not been a lot of publicity surrounding him… until this summer.
While the 21-year-old has not given any indication that he wants to leave Ajax this summer – as other players like Matthijs De Ligt and now current AS Roma winger Justin Kluivert have done – there are several teams tracking him down during the transfer window. That's not surprising. Even though Neres has several years before even reaching his peak and still plenty to learn, he is already an interesting winger who could easily make the jump to a more competitive environment.
We could look at his numbers and frankly, they are surprising. Neres registered 14 goals and 13 assists in 32 Eredivisie matches for Ajax last season; playing on the right wing. This year, he already debuted against Sturm Graz in the UEFA Champions League Qualification Stages and was placed on the left side of the attack. This suggests something that should be appealing for most teams: he can play on both flanks with equal ease. That kind of versatility is always useful, especially in today’s football where positional changes and winger who can switch sides are so valuable.
If we base on numbers again, we can see he has played his entire career as a right-winger: 62 matches across all competitions with 23 goals and 18 assists. Again, let’s remember he is only 21 years old. He is going to get much better with consistent playing time, and it won’t be long before another team comes knocking on Ajax’s door enquiring for his services.
According to Transfermarkt, the Brazilian winger is already valued at €20million but chances are, Ajax will ask for a bit more money to part ways with their star winger. After all, following the departure of Kliuvert, Neres is the only exportable player to a top team on the current squad. Remember, De Ligt is not going anywhere this summer and will only be allowed to leave once the 2018-19 season ends.
But what does it make Neres such an enticing prospect? Perhaps it’s his blistering pace on the wing that has earned him comparisons with Neymar. Or maybe it’s his finishing ability, one that has made fans to see a young Luis Suarez in him. Suarez also played for Ajax and got the reputation of a deadly finisher before joining Liverpool. Who knows? Maybe it’s his impressive array of skill moves that can make players like Ricardo Quaresma, Hachim Mastour or Farshad Ahmazadeh (you might want to Google him and thank me later) look like they have a lot to learn trick-wise.
There are several teams interested in acquiring Neres, although no side has presented an official bid yet. It is believed that Roma are the team leading the chase for now, though. The Serie A giants have decided to add another forward to the squad following Malcolm Malcom fiasco, and feel that Neres is a player on the same level... although somewhat cheaper when it comes to the transfer fee.
Roma might not decide to pursue him this year, and that would probably be widely accepted. After all, Neres could benefit himself from another year at the Eredivisie, although this time he will be team’s top dog following Kluivert’s departure.
He has already risen to the challenge several times throughout his career. And this time, it shouldn’t be any different. But whether he stays or goes, we can know one thing for sure. Ajax have a world-class prospect in Neres, and they should breed him in the way that allows him to develop best for the future.
You know, how Ajax have done it over the past three decades.