When Justin Kluivert arrived in Rome as a 19-year-old for a fee of €17.5 million before the 2018-2019 season, hopes were high for the son of former Barcelona, Milan, and Ajax star Patrick. After all, the teenage Kluivert was coming off a 10-goal, five-assist season for Dutch powerhouse Ajax.
Kluivert wasn’t expected to stick around for more than a few years. The ambitious teen had made it known that his ultimate goal was to reach the pinnacle of world football at Barca like his father or their great rivals Real Madrid—something he reiterated in a recent interview with Dutch tv.
“In retrospect, I would have liked to have stayed at Ajax. Suddenly everything becomes very professional, you have an agent and men who only talk about money,” clarified the young attacker, whose future remains uncertain.
“My goal was to go to Barcelona or Madrid. I was nineteen when I left, and I thought: I stay at Roma for two years and then I go to Madrid. I was supposed to go to Madrid, but it didn’t happen. I saw Roma as an intermediate step, but since then I’ve seen the other side of football.”
It wasn’t what anyone who supports or works for Roma wants to hear, even in retrospect, but it was something everyone could’ve lived with if he prospered in the capital for a few seasons and then fetched a hefty transfer fee from one of the Spanish giants. Instead, it seems, Kluivert got just a bit ahead of himself.
Kluivert struggled to impress in his first season, scoring just one league goal and assisting six others in just over 1,300 minutes under Eusebio Di Francesco. The following season under Paulo Fonseca wasn’t much better, as he scored four times and assisted once in just over 1,500 league minutes.
That lack of production and lack of faith was enough to see Kluivert loaned out to German side RB Leipzig the following season. Kluivert hoped for a Roman return under newly hired Jose Mourinho in 2021 but was loaned out to French side Nice instead. And then again to Spanish side Valencia this past season.
However, the half dozen goals he scored with Valencia was finally enough for Tiago Pinto to find a permanent taker for the now 24-year-old: Premier League side Bournemouth.
The move, reportedly for €11 million plus bonuses, officially ends the chapter on Kuivert’s Roma career, which saw him score nine times in 68 appearances.
It’s a disappointing end to what was expected to be an exciting spell in the capital. And while €11 million is much less than what Roma expected to recoup when this move was initially made, it’s an essential sale for Pinto as he looks to satisfy the €30 million in sales needed to satisfy FFP regulations by June 30th.