Roma’s 19-year-old Justin Kluivert, son of Dutch legend Patrick, had an interesting time running his way through the transfer rumor mill from Amsterdam to Rome.
Some of it was his doing, too, as Kluivert gave a February interview mentioning Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, and Manchester United.
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And here’s where we get an unlikely bit of blunt honesty regarding the gossip mill, often derided by players: Kluivert considered the rumors as compliments.
“You see your name a lot of times passing by, that clubs are looking at you,” Kluivert told ProSoccerTalk. “Sometimes it was true, sometimes it wasn’t. It means that you’re doing good, though.”
Kluivert chose Roma, of course, and he knows the courtship and price tag of $21 million will have eyes trained on his performance. He’s looking to build on a 10-goal, 5-assist season at Ajax, one that ranked the teenager higher than all but eight players on advanced stats site WhoScored.
“I thought a long time about my decision and I think this is the best for me, and I will give 100 percent for the club,” Kluivert said. “Nobody can do more than 100 percent so let’s see what it’ll be like. I want to be there for the team, and I think we can achieve great things and I want to contribute.”
Kluivert says he’s adjusting to life in Rome thanks to a pair of Dutch teammates in Kevin Strootman, who speaks fine Italian, and Rick Karsdorp, who acts as his food guide.
And it helps that his new, historic home has some in common with his previous one.
“I come from Amsterdam, a busy city, great people, and here in Rome the people, the fans give everything for their team and it was the same in Holland at Ajax,” he said. “That’s nice to have that here as well.”