5 facts about Newcastle United £7m target Ricardo van Rhijn

Newcastle United have reportedly identified Ricardo van Rhijn as the man to replace the outgoing Mathieu Debuchy, but what do we know about the Ajax man?

Mathieu Debuchy looks set to say ‘au revoir’ to St James’ Park but Newcastle United may have already found a replacement in Ricardo van Rhijn.

The 23-year-old has been linked with a £7 million move to the Magpies according to the Metro – but what do we actually know about the Premier League target? Read on for the lowdown.

1. The defender started his journey into the world of professional football with Dutch amateur side RKSV DoCoS (which translates as Roman Catholic Sports Association By Combination Of Strong). He soon caught the eye of a number of Eredivise clubs with Feyenoord and Ajax going head to head in 2002 to sign the 12-year-old. In the end he opted for the Amsterdam giants.

2. After impressing for Ajax at youth level, van Rhijn made his first senior appearance in the KNVB Cup against VV Noordwijk on September 21st 2011, coming on for Toby Alderweireld in the 65th minute of a 3-1 win for the Eredivisie side. He would go on to make his league debut against ADO Den Haag on December 18th of the same year.

3. Ricardo van Rhijn comes highly recommended by those behind the scenes at Ajax, having won the Marco van Basten Award as the AFC Ajax Talent of the Year Award back in 2012. Previous winners include Nwankwo Kanu, Rafael van der Vaart, Steven Pienaar and Christian Eriksen.

4. Though he scored against Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League during his second season with Ajax, va Rhijn didn’t get off the mark for the Amsterdam club in the Eredivisie until last season, when he bagged two goals. But when he does find the net they tend to be memorable strikes, as this goal against PEC Zwolle from last April demonstrates!

5. Van Rhijn comes with the Special One’s seal of approval, amid rumours that Jose Mourinho wanted to bring the defender to Stamford Bridge last September, only for the Chelsea manager to stick with Cesar Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic as his main options at right-back.

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