The arrival of the Dutch midfield playmaker has given Werder Bremen a genuine chance of more than just midtable in the coming Bundesliga season. His signing is by far the club's most expensive to date.
Five years ago, Werder Bremen's attacking line included Kevin de Bruyne. The Belgian was the star but wasn't the finished product he is now, and in a somewhat jumbled together team Bremen only managed to finish the season three points clear of relegation.
A lot has changed at the Bundesliga club since then. Three different head coaches have come and gone, as have many players, but now Werder Bremen find themselves in search of the answer to the question every midtable side asks: How do we get better from here?
The appointment of Florian Kohfeldt as head coach was a start, and the signing of Dutch midfielder Davy Klaassen could be the finish.
The 25-year-old has the creativity and the ability to dictate the tempo of the game in a manner that Werder Bremen have perhaps not been able to since de Bruyne held the position. Granted he'll have some rust to shake off after an unsuccessful spell in England, but the intelligence and vision that Klaassen showed at Ajax is still there. And head coach Kohfeldt knows it.
Bremen looking smart
On the day of the signing before Klaassen had even trained with the team, Kohfeldt said he the midfielder would be the focal point of Bremen's game in the upcoming season. Klaassen said at his unveiling that a three-hour discussion with Kohfeldt in person proved decisive. Klaassen knows that under Kohfeldt, he'll be given the chance to play and be the main man again. The fact that Werder Bremen have broken a club record by some distance with a reported €15-million ($17.4 million) transfer fee for Klaassen, shows they think so too. It's also a sign that the club is ready to spend to try to bring European football back to the banks of the river Weser.
Losing the bite of Danish international Thomas Delaney in midfield left a worrying hole, but Frank Baumann, the sporting director, has proved himself just as capable as Kohfeldt. With Delaney being sold for an €18-million profit, Bremen were in a position to go and get Klaassen – and for considerably less than Everton paid for him. In doing so they have added a very important piece.
While defensively there are still some question marks, a lot is right about this team. Maximilian Eggestein has excelled beyond his 21 years in holding midfield, and Baumann admitted at Klaassen's unveiling that the club were looking for another midfielder, albeit at a lower price. The club has striking options in Max Kruse, Yuya Osako and Martin Harnik, and they have a good goalkeeper. With that in mind, there is genuine reason to believe that Klaassen can be the thread to tie this team together. If he is, Werder Bremen's 2018-19 season is bound to end very differently to that one five years ago.