A man with pedigree and a mission – Mitchell Dijks prepares to switch Ajax Amsterdam for Norwich City in a bid to get his promising career back in a positive setting
- Credit: AP
Norwich City are playing the long game with Mitchell Dijks. It was their only real option – and the headline figures tell you why.
At 6ft 4in tall – maybe that should be long too – and 14 stone, there is a lot of the Ajax defender. That should bode well for an immediate introduction to the rough and tumble of Championship life.
Dijks, set to join City for the remainder of the season , has made his name as a left-back but proven time and again he can play in a central defensive role – and at just 23 his age remains in prime development territory.
Perhaps most keenly, he has pedigree.
Three years at one of world football's great production lines. Eredivisie, Europa League and Champions League appearances to his name. Call-ups to the Netherlands squad. There's no accident in Leicester being linked with a £10m move for the Dutchman only last summer, at the height of their Premier League title powers.
That all raises two points.
Firstly, any side desperately fighting to avoid being suffocated by Championship mediocrity was surely going to find it impossible to permanently sign a young man with a seemingly bright future.
Secondly, what has happened since the summer to see Dijks contemplating second-tier action in England?
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Well with Peter Bosz now in charge at Amsterdam Arena and Daley Sinkgraven his preferred left-back option, Dijks has been limited to 736 minutes of action so far this term. Dijk himself puts that down to the negative side of an opportunistic world. One he has benefitted from in the past.
'I must ensure that people turn to talk positively about me,' was a vow Dijks made, scoring in Ajax's friendly defeat to Excelsior following their winter break.
Fight for your place, or take flight for some games – that was the initial ultimatum from his Ajax boss. Dijks' first response was the former. He now seems left with the latter.
A loan move until the summer delivers commitment that can be uneasy if things don't work out.
But if Dijks' hunger and desire match his undoubted pedigree, then the Canaries' and Dutchman's futures could yet become more closely aligned.