This is our “prospecting the prospects” series, where we run the rule over lots of FPL prospects who will enter the game next season– our directory for these (over 20!) is here. This series analyses a selection of significant newcomers to the FPL game by simulating how they would have performed using last season’s stats (wherever they played) in FPL, then provide our evaluation of the player as an asset ahead of the new season.
A huge double signing was announced by Everton on 15th June. For a combined £54m they signed budget ‘keeper supreme Jordan Pickford from Sunderland and, just hours later, Ajax captain Davy Klaassen. This article focuses on the latter player, with Pickford’s potential as an FPL player (albeit with a probable 5.0 price tag perhaps diluting that appeal from next season) already established.
On completing the signing of the Dutch midfielder from Eredivisie runners-up Ajax, his new manager – compatriot Ronald Koeman – had this to say:
“He’s a player who is only 24 but has a lot of experience and is a leader on the pitch. He has already captained Ajax for two seasons and that shows you the type of person he is.
He is hardworking, likes to press and, of course, will give us more creativity and goals.”
Prospecting the prospect (using last season’s data)
So, let’s look at how many points he would have got if he was in for FPL last year, using a mixture of the Squawka data for his performance last season and our experience with the (sometimes nebulous) FPL bonus system.
Appearances: 32 appearances (31x played over 60 mins; 1x subbed of at 45 mins) = 63 points (31×2 (+1))
Goals: 13 goals = 65 points
Assists: 9 assists = 27 points
Bonus: Let’s analyse the games he contributed in. This (of course) covers goals and assists for forwards
(Occasional random bonus points (bps) are sometimes awarded in FPL where a player has bossed it but not actually got on the score card. We’re not estimating these as we’re using pure data rather than contextual data (e.g. watching the games he played in) to make perform this analysis. Plus it’ll only be an extra one or two points either way, which won’t change the story.)
- For goals: this is best looked at by breaking down his contribution to games – where he was undisputed difference in the game, we will assign 3bps; where he was involved in changing the result but didn’t win the match, it’s 2bps; where he was on the scoresheet but it wasn’t a telling contribution, we will give the metrics and make an approximation
Match winning: Klaassen loves to break the deadlock. He scored the opening goal on 28th August in the 3-0 victory against Go Ahead Eagles, in the 2-0 victory against Heracles on the 18th September (assisting the other in that game), and again on 16th October against ADO Den Haag. He repeated the trick in the new year, with the opening goal in the 2-0 victory over Roda JC on 5th February, followed by scoring the only goal in the 1-0 victory against Vitesse two weeks later on 19th February. On all 5 of these occasions, he would have definitely been in the mix for 3bps as his goal would be deemed the match winner by the FPL bonus system. Let’s say he was awarded 3bps for 3 of those games (definitely for his goal and assist in the 2-0 victory against Heracles, and for the 1-0 victory over Vitesse, plus one more) but 2bps for the other couple, resulting in 13 points already just for match winning goals.
Result change: As we’ve said, he loves to score the opener. On the first day of the season, he opened Ajax’s account for the campaign by scoring the opening goal after just 5 minutes against Sparta on 7th August, in a game they would go on to win 3-1. He put Ajax 2-1 up in the game against AZ on 6th November (they went on to draw 2-2), followed by (again) scoring the opening goal on 18th December in the 1-1 draw with PSV. He also slotted home the equaliser v. Luis Suarez’s old club Groningen in their 1-1 draw on 5th March. On these occasions, he would be in the mix for bonus certainly, especially for salvaging results against PSV and Groningen. Let’s say he got all 3bps on one occasion and 2bps on the other for those draw, plus another 2 for putting Ajax ahead v. AZ. He might have gotten 1bp on the opening day. That gives us a further 8 points.
Contributions: Klaassen scored Ajax’s consolation in the 1-2 loss to Willem II on 20th August. Later in the season, he added Ajax’s 3rd in the 5-1 thumping of Heerenveen on 16th April, and repeated the trick as Ajax got their revenge over Willem II on the final day of the season (14th May) in a 3-1 victory. For the consolation goal, he may well have been awarded 1bp, but we doubt he would have received anything for adding goals to an already won match.
Total guessimated bonus for goals: 22 points
- For assists: We’ve already covered one assist (v Heracles on 18th Sept), for which he’s already been awarded 3bps under the “goals” section. Earlier than that, he got an assist in the 2-2 draw with Roda JC on 13th August, creating a further big chance in that game. This is quite a trend for Klaassen, who also assisted whilst creating another big chance on three subsequent occasions (in the 5-1 win v. Zwolle on 24th September; in the 5-0 victory over NEC on 20th November, and in the 3-0 win over ADO Den Haag on 29th January). He got just an assist in the 3-0 win over Twente on 12th His big game for assists came in the huge 5-1 away win against NEC (10-1 on aggregate last season v. them for Ajax!), as he assisted 3 times in that match.
For the 3 assists, he would have come away with 2bps we think, as Bertrand Traore (the Chelsea loanee) scored a brace in that game and created one big chance, with the FPL bonus system seems to favour goal scorers. He got a yellow card in the game v. Roda JC, meaning his assist would probably have not been enough for him to threaten for bonus. For the other three games, it looks as though others would have probably been preferred by the bonus system, but let’s give him a further 1bp just to account for the latent quirks we always observe in how the system works. That gives him an additional 4 points from assists.
Total guesstimated bonus: 26 points
Clean sheets: 13 clean sheets = 13 points
Disciplinary: 5 yellow cards (-5 points) / 0 red cards
Scores on the doors
185 points. That’s pretty huge, especially considering he only played 32 games. That already puts him in 9th overall, ahead of Gylfi Sigurdsson, and in the top 6 for midfielders, below Kevin de Bruyne.
For grossing up his score to cover a whole season in the Premier League – 38 games – we need to grab his points per game (ppg). This is a whopping 5.78ppg (185/32).
If he’d have played all 38 in the Prem at that rate, he’s have returned a staggering 220 points, placing him 4th for midfielders (above Christian Eriksen and just below Eden Hazard), and 6th overall, just behind Romelu Lukaku. Ludicrous.
Evaluation and conclusion
Well, that’s looking pretty hopeful.
There are a lot of positives in Klaassen’s favour. As an attacking mid, he seems to really get forward and has a habit of breaking the deadlock and therefore making a difference in games – he did that for 7 of his 13 goals last term in the Eredivisie. A goal scoring midfielder is always top priority on FPL, and he might just fit the bill. Added to that, he also has a strong creative streak, with through balls seemingly a big part of his game: he created 57 chances last season, of which 9 were converted, giving him an assists-to-chance- created percentage of 16%. He has also been described as a leader on the pitch, taking possession and driving forward – this infers decent ball retention abilities, which is also counted favourably by the FPL bonus points system.
However. Converting from the, objectively, weaker Eredivisie to the Premier League is not always a smooth path. For every Christian Eriksen (whose creative mantle Klaassen inherited at Ajax), there is a Memphis Depay; for every Luis Suarez there is a Victor Jansen. And who can forget the glory of Afonso Alves, who tore up the Dutch top tier but couldn’t cut it on cold and windy nights on Teeside? We need to take the stats – undeniably, they are really strong and the signs are positive – with a hint of pessimism, as the mixed fortunes of those converting from Holland to the Premier League seems to preach caution.
The extremely poor opening 5 fixtures for Everton (STK mci che TOT mnu) further dents his appeal to us as FPL managers initially, however his next 3 after that horror show (BOU BUR bha) will definitely draw him onto our radars, especially if the new man hits the ground running.
As for pricing, anything between 7.0-8.0 is possible. Since he may have been bought to replace Ross Barkley, with whom Koeman appears to have fallen out, a price tag of 7.5 (as Barkley started the season in 16/17) looks the most probable. This isn’t bad at all for a player with good promise – at that price, he will slot into our teams as a 3rd midfielder we suspect (once the initial bad fixtures are out of the way) should he come into the reckoning.
An overall score similar to Barkley’s last term (144) is probably what we should expect of Klaassen, then. It is, after all, his first season and he does need to sink or swim. However, given the strong stats we’re basing this analysis on, we have to say that he’s looking a strong prospect indeed for our midfields. We wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the majority of squads, provided he gets off the ground, by GW10.
Overall rating: 4 / 5 – A good prospect for FPL.
*derived from a completely subjective scale from 1-5, where 1 is bad and 5 is excellent
Caveat: we thoroughly accept this system of evaluating players isn’t flawless. However, we feel that it’s a nice approach to getting a feel for how a player might do.