In a summer where transfers of the biggest names in world football stole all the limelight, Steven Berghuis’ moved from Feyenoord to their arch-rivals Ajax. The move has been dubbed as “the most controversial transfer in the history of Eredivisie” and rightly so, given the rare nature of this transfer because of their rivalry. Before Berghuis, only three players in history have made direct move from Feyenoord to Ajax.
The transfer was greeted with a wide flurry of emotions from Feyenoord fans. The former Feyenoord captain and fan favourite informed in the interview with his new club Ajax that he had always wanted to take the next step in order to develop himself in the sport. Berghuis was an important member of the Feyenoord side that ended the club’s wait for the Eredivisie title for eighteen years in the 2016-17 season. His stats in recent years have been impressive as well. The creative attacker scored eighty-seven goals and registered a further sixty-four assists in 199 games for Feyenoord. Last season he was the third-highest goal scorer in the Eredivisie with eighteen goals while he also contributed twelve assists.
His integration into the Ajax squad this season has been seamless. So far, he has two goals and six assists in eight matches. Let’s look into his stats in the recent matches to understand his integration into the Ajax squad.
Berghuis was in fine form in Ajax’s 2-0 victory over Besiktas. Not only did he score the opening goal for his team, but he also registered an assist for his side’s second goal. He had the third-highest xG in the match and was tied for shots at second place. In addition, he made the second highest recoveries in the opposition half.
His pass map illustrates his versatility in playing forward passes into multiple areas of the pitch. He has also delivered plenty of diagonal balls into the opposition half.
His pass received locations indicates his capability in receiving passes in multiple areas of pitch. It also suggests that he drops deep in his own half to support his team in the build-up phases.
Berghuis’s heat map displays the areas of the pitch where he is most active in. He has an incredible work rate as shown in the above visual. He is most active in the half-spaces on both the left and right-wing in the opposition half. This further indicates his ability to switch sides with his teammates during the attack.
In terms of goal contribution, Berghuis ranks in fourth spot in the Champions League and in addition his goal contribution per 90 of 1.78 places him in a respectable tenth spot.
If his recent performances provide any indication of what could be expected from Berghuis as the season progresses, Ajax fans have a lot to look forward to. His stats in the previous season were unparalleled and he has already hit his stride this season with brilliant performances in the Champions League and the Eredivisie. His integration into Erik Ten Hag’s side has been seamless.