Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman has urged Justin Kluivert to continue his development at Ajax rather than pursue a big-club move during the summer. The 18-year-old is reportedly attracting interest from Manchester United, but Koeman believes the teenager is better off staying with his current club. Speaking in a pre-match press conference, he said: “I spoke to him about this,’ admitted Koeman. He’s in talks with Ajax about his contract. I think the best is for him stay in Holland because he’s only 18.”
Kluivert had a personal chat with manager Jose Mourinho following Ajax’s 2-0 defeat to United in the Europa League final, and he has since continued to be linked with the Red Devils. Despite this, United appear unlikely to make a transfer approach this summer with Mourinho highlighting that the club are focused on bolstering other areas of the pitch other than the attack.
Kluivert has notched eight goals in 19 appearances for Ajax this term, and Koeman could potentially hand him his maiden Dutch cap during Friday’s international friendly versus England. The Netherlands have endured a tough couple of years, which has seen them fail to qualify for both Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup, and the country’s supporters will hope for better things to come under Koeman.
Koeman had a mixed success rate in the Premier League where he experienced the best and worst with Southampton and Everton respectively, and he now has the responsibility of building up a Holland side which can compete in the UEFA Nations League, a competition which is due to replace the friendlies in the FIFA International Match Calendar.
Koeman’s first game in-charge of Netherlands will be against England in Amsterdam on Friday night, before travelling to Geneva for Tuesday’s friendly against European champions Portugal. Unlike the Netherlands’, Portugal have not succumbed to a defeat since their Euro 2016 triumph.