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Leeds United signed 18-year-old centre-back Pascal Struijk in the dying minutes of the recently-concluded transfer window last month. They were linked with him for quite a while and the club ultimately snapped him up on a three-and-a-half year deal to play for the U23 side in order to further his development. It is understood that the club purchased him with a view to shaping him into a first-team player and it will be interesting to see how that turns out.
There was a bit of resentment among the fans as they the club appeared to focus more on signing development squad players instead of first-team stars who could actually help them secure a playoff spot. Nonetheless, Struijk seems like a sharp talent and with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at his profile.
Born in 1999, Struijk is a Netherlands-born centre-back, who began his footballing career with SEV Leidschendam. He put in some sturdy displays for the club which eventually attracted attention from ADO Den Haag’s academy. Soon, Struijk joined them and he started representing the U19 side. He chipped in with a number of assists and a goal despite being a defender and eventually in 2016, Ajax snapped him up. He continued to play for the Dutch giants’ U19 side and put in some truly impressive performances for them at the back.
As far as his international career is concerned, Struijk made his debut back in February 2016 and has appeared for the Netherlands U17 squad a couple of times since then. Now, having secured a move to Championship side Leeds, Struijk will be quite a valuable long-term investment.
Struijk is over six-feet tall and despite being so young, he knows how to use his height to his advantage. He is quick on his feet and has a strong physique, which often helps him bully the opponent attackers. However, he is a work in progress. He boasts of exemplary skills and technical knowledge but he needs the right guidance to truly unlock his potential. His ability on the ball is brilliant and he is known to be a threat during set-piece situations as well. Armed with a penchant for finding the back of the net, Struijk can definitely be earmarked for a bright future.
He might not be a player the Leeds fans were hoping for but now that he is here, he does seem like a valuable long-term addition. Given his skills and the rapid pace at which he is developing, it might not be long before Struijk steps on to the field to feature for the first-team. There is definitely a lot of scope for him to do that in the near future and the player will have to grasp every single opportunity with both hands and work his magic.