If you are looking for Europe's next starlet, Ajax is usually a good place to start.
Kasper Dolberg has a lot to live up to. From Michael Laudrup to Christian Eriksen via Jesper Gronkjaer, the array of Danish talent to pass through the Dutch capital certainly puts the pressure on the nation’s next superstar-in-waiting. But, like the aforementioned trio, Dolberg has the finesse, the class, and the touch of maverick brilliance to live up to such lofty heights.
Don’t let his 6ft 1ins frame fool you; Dolberg is no heavy-footed target man. With a deft touch and quick feet, its little surprise he’s been labelled the ‘new Zlatan Ibrahimovic’. It is also little surprise that Everton are so keen to meet his acquaintance, as well as his price tag, according to the Liverpool Echo. But why? And how much?
1) The secret’s out. After emerging discretely into the Ajax first-team, Dolberg’s list of suitors is lengthening by the week. According to The Sun, scouts from Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea were in attendance for Ajax’s thrilling Europa League win against Celta recently. Inevitably, Dolberg netted a stunner, nutmegging a dazed defender before lofting a lovely finish into the far corner. It’s becoming his trademark.
2) The diamond Dolberg was first discovered by renowned scout John Steen Olsen at Silkeborg. The significance, you ask? Well, it just so happens this man is famous for discovering the next generation of Scandinavian stars, such as Viktor Fischer and Christian Eriksen. Oh, did we mention one Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
3) That Ajax are yet to even reminisce wistfully about the now-departed Arkadiusz Milik, who netted 32 Eredivisie goals in two seasons in the capital, is testament to Dolberg’s excellent performances at the tip of Peter Bosz’s attacking trident. The 19-year-old has scored five in eight league starts this season, including a gorgeous individual goal in De Klassieker to bring Feyenoord’s perfect start to the campaign crashing down.
4) Dolberg has already earned full international honours, coming off the bench in Denmark’s 4-1 battering of Kazakhstan in Friday’s World Cup qualifier. Believe it or not, the Danes have quite the forward line these days with Nicolai Jorgensen, Martin Braithwaite and former Cardiff City flop Andreas Cornelius (below) all in fine fettle for their clubs in recent months.
5) He won’t come cheap. Dolberg recently put pen to paper on a new deal to keep him at the Amsterdam ArenA until 2021. Or, alternatively, ramp up his value with Europe’s most opulent owners hovering their pens over blank cheques.