When Everton splashed out £23.6 million on midfielder Davy Klaassen from Dutch giants Ajax last summer, the move was seen as a shrewd piece of business by a club determined to go places.

Brought in by then-manager and compatriot Ronald Koeman, the Blues faithful had high hopes for a player that had just captained his boyhood club to second place in the Eredivisie and the Europa League final, scoring 16 goals in all competitions along the way.

However, just seven months later, having hardly featured for the Toffees, Klaassen saw a proposed loan move to Italian side Napoli fall through on transfer deadline day, leaving the prospect of playing regular first-team football for the rest of the current campaign looking extremely bleak.

So, where has it all gone wrong for the Everton player once compared to legendary Barcelona midfielder Xavi by the late, great, Johan Cruyff?

Klaassen arrived at Goodison Park in the middle of the Toffees’ summer spending spree that saw them invest more than £120 million on new recruits, as many pundits tipped the Blues to be the campaign’s dark horses in the race for a top-four spot.

A silky player capable of playing a killer pass or finishing off the move himself, the Netherlands international was expected to typify the kind of fluid, attacking football that Everton fans were hoping to witness under Koeman.

Both player and club made uninspiring starts to the season, scraping past Ruzomberok in the Europa League qualifying round, before securing a narrow 1-0 victory over Stoke City on the opening day of the Premier League season.

It was clear to many watching that this was an Everton team in transition and that the new boys, such as Klaassen, would require time and patience to adapt to the rigours of the domestic game.

If this wasn’t already a big enough challenge for the former Ajax man, the arrival of fellow attacking midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson certainly didn’t make things any easier.

The Iceland international, who thrives when deployed in the same number 10 role, had almost single-handedly kept Swansea City in the top flight having been directly involved in 22 goals for the Swans during the previous season.

Such performances convinced the Goodison Park outfit to spend a club-record £45 million fee on the midfielder – just a few days after Klaassen’s league debut for the Toffees – following more than a month of protracted negotiations.

It soon became clear that Everton looked like an unbalanced outfit with both Sigurdsson and Klaassen in the starting line-up, with neither of them looking comfortable when stationed out wide.

The Dutchman’s inability to adapt to life in England quickly saw him drop down the pecking order and his stock has fallen so low that he last featured in a Premier League match back in September, with his Everton career still in its infancy.

Since then, Klaassen has been restricted to brief appearances in the Toffees’ ill-fated Europa League campaign.

It is not, however, just Sigurdsson’s arrival that has limited the Dutchman’s playing time, with the lack of continuity in the dugout impacting his ability to acclimatise to a new league, country and team.

During his few months as an Everton player, Klaassen has already worked under three different managers, with Koeman’s successors both focusing on obtaining short-term results, rather than allowing the midfielder the time to find his feet in the Toffees’ first team.

When Koeman’s tenure at Goodison was brought to an end towards the end of October, Everton were in the relegation zone and fearing being sucked into a battle for survival, parted ways with the former Southampton boss, placing David Unsworth in temporary charge.

The appointment of Sam Allardyce, almost a month later, was seen as a rescue mission rather than any long-term planning and the former England manager has made it clear that he does not see a place for Klaassen in his starting XI.

Towards the end of the January transfer window, as Napoli enquired about the former Ajax man, Allardyce stated that the midfielder should move away from Goodison if he wishes to get first-team minutes under his belt.

All of this begs the question, what next for Klaassen?

His big-money move to Everton has been nothing short of a nightmare up to this point and it remains to be seen whether he will still be at Goodison by the start of next season.

Allardyce believes that the Dutchman is good enough to make the grade in Merseyside but Klaassen would be forgiven for wanting to seek pastures new during the summer months.

A move to Napoli would have been the ideal tonic for 2016 Dutch footballer of the year but instead, he will spend the remainder of the campaign cut off from the first-team squad, perhaps making the odd cameo appearance here and there.

Everton are currently in ninth place in the league standings and are unlikely to be involved in the relegation dogfight.

With that in mind, Allardyce would surely be better off giving Klaassen the chance to showcase his talents and earn a first-team spot, rather than allowing the player that cost them £23.6 million to rot in the reserves.


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