Ritsu Doan dazzled Groningen’s fans last season and after making his loan deal permanent, the midfielder will be looking to take the Eredivisie by storm.

  • By Michael Bell
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Doan came through the youth ranks at Gamba Osaka in Japan and made his first-team debut during the AFC Champions League tie with FC Seoul in 2015. Over the next few years, he switched between Gamba Osaka’s first team and U23 side, making 25 appearances for the former, scoring four goals and providing one assist.

Groningen had watched the youngster in action on several occasions and swooped to bring him to the Euroborg last summer on a loan deal with the option to buy permanently.

Doan instantly became a fan favourite in Groningen and was their star player during a disappointing season with nine goals and four assists. The club was eager to make the move permanent but the transfer fee was an issue. Manchester City offered to help Groningen out to get a stake in the young talent, but eventually, the club stumped up the €2 million themselves.

Groningen now has Doan tied down to the club on a deal until 2021.

Style of Play

Doan is a versatile attacking midfielder, who is at home on the wings but is at his best when deployed in the number ten position.

The Japanese U20 international is not only an excellent dribbler with a low centre of gravity, but he also has great vision, an eye for a pass and the ability to score with finesse. Doan is also a hard worker and is ferocious in attempting to get the ball back.

What to expect from Doan this season

Doan was a revelation in the Eredivisie last season and it’s great for Groningen that they were able to make his deal permanent, especially with bigger clubs circling.

The club finished in a disappointing 12th place last season and Doan will be hoping to steer the club into the top ten at least and possibly push for Europe. The 20-year-old will be the club’s main creative force and if he can contribute as many goals as he did last season then it will be almost impossible for Groningen to keep hold of him next summer.

Groningen has a history of having great talents such as Luis Suarez and Virgil van Dijk and with Ritsu Doan they possibly have another who could be destined for the top.

Michael Bell (59 Posts)