Linked heavily with both Arsenal and Tottenham in the Premier League. This prolific Dutch striker could maybe count himself unlucky to fall foul of the new era of ‘Galacticos’ at Real Madrid. His decision on where to ply his trade next season could ultimately widen or close the North London gap. But who exactly is Klaas-Jan Huntelaar? The Transfer Tavern asked Football Fancast Columnist The New Voice of Football to investigate.
At 25-years of age, Huntelaar should be coming into the peak of his career and now finds himself an outcast at the Bernabeu through no fault of his own. Huntelaar can only do, what Huntelaar does. Score goals and lots of them. 179 of them in 265 career games to date, with the Dutch International’s haul of 105 in 136 games for Ajax securing a £17million move from the Amsterdam Arena in January.
So the lad must be a bit confused after finding the net 8 times in 20 La Liga clashes to find himself Surplus to requirements in the Spanish capital due to arrivals of Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in Madrid.
Huntelaar had been expected to join Bundesliga side Stuttgart, with Real agreeing a fee with the German club and desperate to recoup some of the zillions they have been splashing about this summer. However, no move materialised, with the striker’s wage demands thought to be a stumbling block along with his desire to play in the Premiership.
This has left the Gunners and Spurs to vie for Huntelaar, with Serie A giants AC Milan also said to hold an interest in the striker as an alternative to Sevilla’s Luis Fabiano, while Huntelaar has also caught the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson in this transfer window.
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp said to have made a swoop for the Dutch forward on Tuesday, according to reports in Spain. After finally offloading Darren Bent to Sunderland earlier this week. Confirming his initial vocal interest from a week ago, when asked about the Los Blancos striker.
“If you look at his goalscoring it’s absolutely incredible,” Redknapp said last week.
“If he’s available, he’s a player that interests me … If Darren Bent does go then maybe we’ll be interested in Huntelaar again.”
However, some reports suggest that Redknapp still needs to raise more funds to finance the acquisition of Huntelaar, with the sale of Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko being mooted.
While, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is a known admirer of Huntelaar, with the striker on the radar of the Frenchman since scoring the first ever goal at the Emirates Stadium in the Dennis Bergkamp testimonial. The Gunners cash rich from the sales of Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure and expected to bring in another striker this summer. The pursuit of Bordeaux striker Maroune Chamakh called off by Wenger, which leaves the focus very much on Huntelaar.
At £17million Huntelaar is not cheap, but with such a goalscoring record, some might say not expensive either. So should the striker arrive at White Hart Lane or the Emirates, what exactly does £17million buy you these days?
As you can see he does what it says on the tin, scores goals, with either foot and his head. Huntelaar is prolific at both club and International level, with the striker definitely unfortunate to find himself an outcast at Real after just half a season in the Spanish capital.
The Dutch striker has also been consistent throughout his career and has returned a haul of over 20 goals in five of his seven full seasons as a striker. Huntelaar finding the net 36 times in each of his last two full seasons at the Amsterdam Arena with Ajax.
Indeed Huntelaar on the surface would appear to be exactly what Wenger said he needed to add to the Arsenal squad this close season. Players, who are ready to hit the ground running in the Premier League. While Spurs would relish the opportunity to land someone, who could be capable of scoring the goals that close the gap on their North London rivals.
Under contract at Los Blancos until the summer of 2013, Real’s demands are simple, give us our £17million back for him and he is yours. However, Huntelaar wants to leave Spain on his own terms and any club would have to match his £70,000-a-week earnings at the Bernabeu. Which is surely not too much for someone, who has a 2 in 3 goal-scoring ratio at club level and 13 in 23 for Holland.
Real are desperate to sell Huntelaar and both Arsenal and Tottenham are in the market for a striker this summer, with the Dutchman favouring a move to the Premier League. Could the decision of this striker ultimately decide the size of the North London gap, should he opt for one of the bitter rivals over the other? Will Harry or Arsene win this North London Klaas War?
Indeed should Huntelaar arrive in the Premier League, will he Fly like Ruud van Nistelrooy before him at United? Or will he Die on his backside like Chelsea flop Mateja Kezman?
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