TORONTO, Canada—Canadian soccer players seem to be taking over the headlines in Europe one by one.
Alphonso Davies has been on a roll at Bayern Munich and he’ll soon be joined in the European top-flights by a fellow Canuck.
Jonathan David is one of the most highly-scouted attacking midfielders in Europe. In just under two seasons, the 2019 Canadian player of the year has tallied 30 goals in 60 appearances in the Belgian First Division A for Gent. This past season, which was cut short due to COVID-19, David led the league with 18 goals as his side finished in 2nd place.
In September 2019, the Ottawa native extended his contract through to 2023, but in the January 2020 transfer window, Gent chairman Ivan de Witte said there was significant interest in the striker from bigger clubs, with an estimated value of €20 million ($30.5 million CAD).
The bigger clubs stretch across the European continent, including a number of powerhouse options that could surely catch the eye of the young striker.
David has made it clear that he wants to leave for a club which can allow him to continue to grow. Though he has said that the Bundesliga is a destination that seems like it would offer the right opportunity, we shouldn't be quick to dismiss any of the other major teams around Europe that are looking into the 20-year-old wonder-kid.
Here is how Jonathan David would fit in at some rumoured transfer destinations:
The Serie A powerhouse is a desirable option for any player of any age, especially considering the quality that the team contains. It is that quality that would make it hard for Jonathan David to find his feet in Milan.
Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez rightfully hold the two forward roles in Inters consistent 3-5-2 formation, while attacking midfielders include the likes of Christian Eriksen and Roberto Gagliardini. Playing time, especially in large scale matches, would be scarce.
The only positive, and an entirely hypothetical, is if Martinez, who is rumoured with a transfer to FC Barcelona heads to the Catalan world beaters, and forward Alexis Sanchez returns to his parent club Manchester United after his loan spell. In this case, Inter would without a doubt be looking for someone that could potentially play more regularly.
I feel like this has been said before, but this could be Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s last year. Who knows at this point? The Swede talisman walked into the rebuilding Milan side after a dominant spell at LA Galaxy, but it seems like the club are now looking into the future, past Zlatan.
As they’re not able to buy high-cost champions, the Rossoneri will focus mainly on young talents who could soon reach their full potential. There could be a starting position up for grabs because of this, and in a young team, David may grow better with those his own age and maturity, not to mention, adjusting to the new lifestyle.
In an interview with The Guardian, David said that The Premier League is the best in the world and most competitive, so obviously that is somewhere he would love to play in the future. So with a historic club like Arsenal knocking at the door, this one could be hard to turn down.
Though he may be the top scorer in the Belgian league, with the attackers that the Gunners have, and continue to produce, it’s going to be a very competitive environment to crack. Should he accept a transfer to the eye-catching Emirates Stadium, there is no doubt that David would be given a shot by Mikael Arteta, it would just come down to how quickly he could make his mark.
Along with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, there is newer and younger players bursting onto the scene for Arsenal. Nicolas Pepe, the big money signing from Lille, and Gabriel Martinelli are just two attackers trying to cement their spot in the lineup, with further competition coming from youth ranks.
To be in and around world-class players in the Premier League would be a great experience, but joining Arsenal would not offer the consistency in play David is in search of.
Canada international Jonathan David has been watched by Arsenal’s scouting team and with 37 goals in 83 games for Belgium’s Gent over the past two seasons is doubtless a player of huge potential. [@TheAthleticUK]— LTArsenal™ (@ltarsenal) May 23, 2020
Borussia Dortmund is a factory for developing prospects into world-beaters. Last season, we saw the rise of Jadon Sancho after his arrival from Manchester City’s youth team. This season we saw Erling Haaland develop more into the goalscoring phenomenon we all knew he was. Jonathan David must be looking at BVB with his eyes peeled.
Based on history, it looks beneficial to go to Dortmund to sharpen the tools he already has, however they do have a plethora of young threats in David’s position(s). Haaland, Sancho, Thorgan Hazard, and Giovanni Reyna among others take control of the sharp yellow attack.
There is a good rotation of players in the lineup for Dortmund, though that factor might make it less appealing for David: a good run of form could be cut short for the chance of another attacker and their development. A youthful atmosphere would help, but the challenge of week-to-week changes would prove to be a struggle to adjust to.
Timo Werner heading to Chelsea is essentially done. For David, Leipzig could allow him to walk into the spot left vacant by the German International striker.
Up to June 3, Werner has scored 25 goals, every 96 minutes on average. This is a massive hole to fill should he leave, especially considering the next highest scorer is Marcel Sabitzer, a midfielder. With Werners future departure, David would look like a prime candidate for grabbing the goals, and if coach Julian Nagelsmann wants to allow him the time to adjust by being an impact substitute at first, I imagine he would still see a lot of minutes.
Sitting 3rd in the Bundesliga at the beginning of the month, Leipzig still do have lots of talent within the squad, but the need for a player to put balls in the back of the net will soon become urgent, making the Canadian the go to man.