A prolific goalscorer in Ajax’s youth system, Daishawn Redan has been gaining attention as a young striker with an immense future.
As he heads to Stamford Bridge, the Eredivisie side wave goodbye to a player who joined the club at eight years old and consistently outshone those of his age group, so much so that he featured for the Under 19s.
It is a big loss for the Dutch club, but his departure had been known since March. Although he seemed set to stay, telling Goal in February: “There is a contract coming my way here and I will definitely sign it”, negotiations broke down, leaving United, City and Chelsea to consider acting on their interest.
Hailed as the brightest talent in Ajax’s famous youth system, he is deadly in front of goal, looking calm taking the ball under control in the box or smoothly running in to divert a cross into the net. He is well rounded too, his strength allows him to hold the ball up and find team-mates, and combined with his speed he is effective in physical challenges against defenders.
Amid a plethora of goals at club level, he has impressed in the national teams U15, 16 and 17s sides too.
“Crazy Daishawn, he really lives for goals,” Brian Tevreden, his coach at the time of his 34-goal season at the age of 14, said. “A real striker. Every ball he gets, he wants to make something. I can already say he is a little phenomenon.”
He has the ambition to match, vowing to become Ajax’s first-choice striker. The promotions of Matthijs De Ligt and Justin Kluivert into the senior side last season suggested he would soon have a good chance, especially with striker Kasper Dolberg attracting interest.
He has been criticised for a lack of patience, though, and it may have got the better of him in his decision to leave. He has been known to get frustrated with wayward passes from team-mates and even lashed out in a defeat to AZ’s U17s with a rash tackle in the middle of the park, getting a second red card of the season.
Off the field, he pushed to be moved from the U17s to the U19s and Ajax let him move between the two. He made three substitute appearances in the UEFA Youth League, and scored three in a friendly against Genk’s U19s within 32 minutes in January, after coming off the bench to put four past Almere City’s U17s in a 4-1 win in December.
He had been training with the U19s since January, and the club were confident of keeping him, with the head of youth saying they “mapped out a path for him and… made every effort to keep a great talent”.
However, he is one of many young players to have been persuaded to leave the Dutch capital by bigger teams in recent years. Chelsea may have impressed him with a plan for his development that topped Ajax’s, but the risk is undoubtedly big on his part given the limited playing time young players receive there.
“It’s not a good choice for the player, maybe financially” youth coach Richard Witschge told De Telegraaf. “But when you see the opportunities you get here, if you are a good talent, you have a great chance of getting into the first-team.”
Redan’s move is a a sad one for Ajax, but they will look to churn out another bright prospect in his place. For the striker, it will have a crucial effect on whether he fulfils his promise - hopefully for the good.