In a relatively unexpected deadline day move, Bundesliga side RB Leipzig have announced the capture of Roma winger Justin Kluivert on a season-long loan deal with an option inserted to purchase him permanently in 2021, provided he reaches a specific number of appearances.
Kluivert, who turned 21 in May, has joined Julian Nagelsmann’s side and will be seen as a welcome addition to a side bolstering their options after selling talisman Timo Werner in July.
Sky Sport in Italy revealed they were in advanced negotiations with the Giallorossi, after a loan fee believed to be €1m (H/T: Bild) was agreed for a season-long loan deal.
Kluivert, who ignored interest from a number of European sides to join Roma two summers ago, is widely viewed as a disappointment given the early Ajax promise and £15.5m fee paid for him.
However as I discussed before football returned in May, the Dutchman is still young and needs a proper run of consistent minutes to assert himself.
Since play in Italy’s top-flight returned in June, Kluivert made just two starts and four total appearances in their eleven matches. Before the suspension, he scored in successive games against Gent (Europa League) and Cagliari.
He was an unused substitute during their 2-0 last-16 defeat by eventual Europa League winners Sevilla on August 6 too.
After a successful medical earlier today, Justin revealed it was a straight decision between Leipzig and Rome two years ago. Now, he’s hoping to hit the ground running in Germany.
“I was already here in 2018, looking at the training facilities. It was all about whether I’d go to Leipzig or Rome.”
He’s netted nine goals and created ten more in 68 total games (44 starts) for Roma, who finished eight points adrift of fourth-placed Lazio in Italy’s final Champions League berth last term.
Leipzig’s sporting director Markus Krosche meanwhile, has revealed his delight about them getting the deal done just before the window closed.
“We have been observing Justin for quite some time now and are proud that he decided to join RB Leipzig, that we could get the transfer over the line shortly before the window closes. He fits perfectly into our requirements profile and our philosophy on the pitch.”
What’s next? Leipzig’s creative options and a tough UCL group
It’ll be interesting to see where Kluivert fits into a team with plenty of attacking firepower under Nagelsmann – who has already nurtured plenty of young talent during his managerial career.
Red Bull Salzburg forward Hee-Chan Hwang (£8.1m) and Crystal Palace’s Alexander Sorloth (£18m) were among their summer acquisitions, while Ademola Lookman departed for Fulham on a season-long loan deal (£1.8m fee) last week.
Angelino’s versatility has seen him shift into a more forward-minded position on the wing, while Dani Olmo and Emil Forsberg are both playmakers by trade but capable of featuring out wide.
Christopher Nkunku delivered his best performance since February at the weekend during their 4-0 drubbing of Schalke, and can operate on alternate wings or in the number ten role.
Kluivert’s a right-footed winger whose best performances often come from the left-hand side, but he’s capable of playing on either flank.
This will be an interesting campaign, not least given Leipzig’s Champions League group – they play Basaksehir, Manchester United and last year’s finalists PSG in Group H this term.