There have been a number of high-profile summer arrivals in the Bundesliga with Paco Alcacer and Axel Witsel signing for Borussia Dortmund, and Paulinho at Bayer Leverkusen, to name a few, but the arrival of Davy Klaassen at Werder Bremen from Everton is a real statement of intent by the four-time Bundesliga champions.
At 25 the midfielder is already a three-time Dutch champion, captained Ajax to the 2017 UEFA Europa League final and was named his country’s Footballer of the Year in 2016. It is that desire to play and succeed that has brought Klaassen to northern Germany and the Bundesliga.
His one and only season in England with the Merseyside club was a frustrating one. The Netherlands international played only 16 competitive games, and completed 90 minutes just three times. Klaassen knew it was time for a change.
That’s when Werder and their coach Florian Kohfeldt came calling. Only 10 years Klaassen’s senior, Kohfeldt has been in the job less than a year, but Bremen’s climb under their former reserve coach has caught the eye.
Watch: Klaassen discusses Werder, Robben and Claudio Pizarro
Taking over with the club 17th and without a win after 10 games, they would go on to finish a comfortable 11th. Bremen remain unbeaten at home in 14 matches under his stewardship, and it was the discussions with Kohfeldt that persuaded Klaassen that the move to this Bundesliga club was the right one.
“He told me that he really wanted me and how he saw me in the team. After that talk I was convinced to go here because I can show myself and get the best out of myself here,” the midfielder told bundesliga.com.
Klaassen has tasted plenty of European football before with both Ajax and Everton, and he has declared from the off that his ambition matches that of his club and their young coach: “The goal is to reach European football this season. No one wants to play for 12th or 13th.”
Even after Bremen’s opening 1-1 draw with Hannover – the first time in four years they didn’t lose on Matchday 1 – Klaassen laid down a marker to his teammates by claiming, “Of course you want more in a derby at home to Hannover.”
Watch: Klaassen vents his frustration at opening draw
The Dutchman has arrived in the Bundesliga with clear intentions. It’s a mentality he shares with one of his most illustrious compatriots – a man who knows the Bundesliga better than most: Arjen Robben.
The pair have played together on six occasions for the Netherlands, and Klaassen describes the Bayern Munich winger as “my favourite player. He’s still so good, the best player I’ve played with. On the pitch a winner, an easy guy off it.”
With the perfect mix of European pedigree and that winning mentality, Klaassen and an improving Werder look a potent mix. Back on the familiar turf of the North Sea coast, the Dutchman may well have found himself a new long-term home in Bremen.