Remember the name: Ryan Gravenberch
Born: 16 May 2002
Position: Central midfielder
Club career: Ajax (2018-)
Such is the quality of Ajax’s youth academy, that the perennial Dutch champions can afford to lose top-class talent like Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Donny van de Beek and hardly skip a beat. Most of Europe’s top clubs are keeping an eye on Gravenberch, a central midfielder who has been likened to Paul Pogba. The comparison is a tad lazy, as these comparisons always are, but also, he does share certain qualities with the Frenchman. They’re both tall, elegant and possess very quick feet.
In 2018, Gravenberch made history by becoming Ajax’s youngest ever player in the Eredivisie, aged 16 years and 130 days. In doing so, he broke Clarence Seedorf’s record, which had stood since 1992. Fast forward to 2020, and he’s a regular starter for the Amsterdam club. He played the full 90 minutes against Liverpool in the Champions League last week, and showed maturity and quality beyond his years, even in defeat.
He’s just signed a new Ajax contract extension until 2023, but his super-agent Mino Raiola is very keen on securing a lucrative move for his young client, so Ajax fans might only get to enjoy him for one or two more years.