Who is Kasper Dolberg? Profiling Ajax's 19-year-old striker
By Michael Hincks
Last Updated: 23/11/16 11:00am
Ajax wonderkid Kasper Dolberg shot to the top of the Eredivisie goalscoring charts at the weekend after scoring an 18-minute hat-trick against NEC Nijmegen.
The 19-year-old striker is scoring at a rate of one goal every 100 minutes in his first full season with the Ajax first team, netting eight times in 12 league games.
The audacity of his final goal against Nijmegen - a backwards header from 12 yards out - gave us a glimpse of why Denmark handed an international debut to the youngster earlier in November.
So, having been scouted by the same man who discovered Zlatan Ibrahimovic, will the Dolberg name don the back of millions of replica shirts in years to come? We profile the rising star...
Dolberg came through the ranks at his hometown club, Silkeborg IF, and he made his Superliga debut in May 2015.
The Dane had already been spotted by compatriot and Ajax scout John Steen Olsen, with a deal confirmed four months before his Danish league bow.
Olsen has an eye for Scandinavian talent, having recognised the quality in players such as Ibrahimovic, Christian Eriksen and Jesper Gronkjær - all of whom signed for Ajax at an early age.
And Olsen was confident Dolberg had the qualities required to shine in the Eredivisie.
"Kasper is an extraordinary talent," said Olsen. "I knew he would be a perfect player for Ajax. Kasper has exceptional qualities: speed, technique, intelligent play and good in the air."
Dolberg repaid Olsen's faith immediately, scoring at the Amsterdam ArenA on his Ajax debut in their Champions League qualifier against PAOK in August.
This strike put him in good company, with Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard also netting on their Ajax debuts.
And following his first-half hat-trick on Sunday, Dolberg was compared to Dutch legend Van Basten - by his own father no less.
"I see many similarities with Van Basten," he said. "If he goes like him that's very good of course. They are the same size, same speed and both have a good shot.
"Maybe they will soon sit at the same level."
The Dane has gone on to become the Eredivisie's joint-top goalscorer - alongside Nicolai Jorgensen of Feyenoord and FC Twente's Enes Unal - and his talent has not gone unnoticed.
Having represented Denmark from Under-16 level, his senior debut came in early November - a substitute appearance against Kazakhstan. It's destined to be the first of many.
Heading for the Premier League?
There's a history of Eredivisie strikers coming off the production line and being shipped to the UK.
This undertaking has produced three Premier League Golden Boot winners in Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez and Ruud van Nistelrooy - a trio which would place highly in anyone's list of the league's greatest imports.
However, the Dutch league has also provided some duds, with Mateja Kezman boasting an impressive record at PSV before failing to carry this form into his one season at Chelsea.
With Dolberg, it's evidently too early to say he is destined for England, but you only have to check the search engines to see he has been linked with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Everton already.
If he can maintain this blistering form, expect to see Dolberg's name banded around in the January transfer window.
What they said...
"Dolberg is very relaxed," Denmark head coach Age Hareide said. "You must do something really special to impress him. I think it was Jon Dahl Tomasson who said that you can put a naked woman in front of Kasper and he wouldn't even respond."
"Dolberg has a lot," said former Ajax head coach Frank de Boer. "He is quite big, he's strong. He has a great shot. He has a lot of qualities for a real striker and he can be really versatile."
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