Daley Sinkgraven has failed to make an impact at Ajax since his move from Heerenveen, but will be looking to finally fulfil his potential under Peter Bosz.
- By Michael Bell
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Sinkgraven began his career playing with amateur side MVV Alcides before joining the Heerenveen academy in 2008 as a 13-year-old. Five years later, after impressing for the U19 side, Sinkgraven was handed his Eredivisie debut on the 18th of July in a 2-2 draw with Roda JC. He appeared in 14 of Heerenveen’s next 15 games, showcasing his versatility by playing on the wing and in the centre of midfield.
The next season, Sinkgraven was a key member of the Heerenveen starting eleven, starring as an attacking midfielder, scoring three goals and adding two assists before Ajax swooped to sign the youngster for €6.5 million in January. His move was met with great excitement in Amsterdam and the midfielder made his Ajax debut six days after completing his move but had a game to forget in a 1-0 defeat against AZ Alkmaar. Sinkgraven made fourteen more appearances before the end of the season, starring against his former club with two assists in a 4-1 win.
Last season, Sinkgraven started the campaign on the wing and was a regular for Frank de Boer, but made a crucial mistake in the Champions League qualifier against Rapid Vienna, which seemed to knock the players confidence and he struggled to make an impact. In a season marked by injury, Sinkgraven made 16 Eredivisie appearances, but only ten of those were starts, and by the end of the campaign the player looked a shade of the talent that took the Eredivisie by storm with Heerenveen.
Style of play
Sinkgraven can play along the midfield, but is at his strongest and most impactful when played in a box-to-box role in the centre. He has great pace, energy and loves to dribble with the ball at his feet. His technique on the ball, passing and crossing accuracy is also strong.
Sinkgraven can sometimes be guilty of trying to dribble the ball out from the back and this cost Ajax at times last season. He needs to be more composed on the ball, and in front of goal with Sinkgraven not scoring enough since his move to Ajax.
What can we expect from Sinkgraven this season
Sinkgraven will be eager to win his place back in the Ajax team under Peter Bosz, but opportunities in his strongest position in the centre of midfield may be hard to find with Bazoer, Klaassen and Gudelj the preferred trio in the centre, while Donny van de Beek, Frenkie de Jong and Abdelhak Nouri also coming through. A season on the wing isn’t ideal for Sinkgraven and if he can’t get his confidence back then a move away, possibly on loan may be best for both the player and the club.
When on form Sinkgraven is one of the most exciting young midfielders in the Netherlands, but he is yet to prove that Ajax was the right move for his career.