Pelle Clement is a bit of an unknown quantity to Reading fans, to say the least, so after the youngster's signing from Ajax we enlisted two experts on all things Dutch football to give us the lowdown on Clement.
What kind of player is Pelle? Any player comparisons come to mind?
Sjimmie: He is a very versatile player. He played every position except centre-back and goalkeeper at Jong Ajax. In the youth setup he was mainly a left winger. In terms of versatility Ronald de Boer (ex-Ajax and Barcelona) comes in mind. But Ronald de Boer was by far a better player.
Nick: Pelle is a real team player, he works hard and the great thing about him is that he is very versatile. He is quite pacy and his technique, passing, shooting and defending everything is quite decent but not sublime. I don't think he has any major qualities and I assume that's why he has gone through the entire academy rather anonymously. A good thing is that Stam really seemed to rate him (And I assume he still does) during his time in charge of Jong Ajax. He often kept major talents like Nouri, Cerny or Van de Beek on the bench which irritated the Ajax fans. This also caused many Ajax fans to mock him by calling him Koning (King) Clement, but in a sarcastic way of course.
What's his best position?
Sjimmie: I think he is at his best as an attacking midfielder where he can dictate the tempo. His passing is good enough and at the midfield his lack of speed isn't a real problem.
Nick: I would say on the left wing. He has played there for the major part of his Jong Ajax career and I think it's his best position. He scored and assisted regularly from this position. Furthermore, he also made his debut for Ajax on the wing. In total he played two matches for the first-team, both matches were in the cup. He scored three goals (two on his debut vs an amateur side and one against SC Cambuur, who play in the same league as Jong Ajax does). But like I said before, Pelle is very versatile. He has played as a striker, attacking midfielder, on both wings and even as a full-back. He played anywhere he was needed without complaining and he played well every single match, which finally earned him the respect of the Ajax fans and I think he fully deserved it.
What are his main strengths?
Sjimmie: His versatilty and he is a pretty clever player. Won't do any stupid things. Jaap Stam really liked him when he was the coach of Jong Ajax.
Nick: His main strength is his versatility. Furthermore he works very hard and he's also a pretty good reader of the game. He knows what he is good at and what he is not so good at. I think that's an undervalued quality. I wouldn't go so far by saying he was the motor at Jong Ajax but he played and important part in Jong Ajax's strong season (They finished 2nd in the second tier of Dutch football and scored 91 goals) and you could notice his absence during the time he was out injured. He scored eight goals in 23 matches and provided another eight.
Any major weaknesses?
Sjimmie: He lacks acceleration. That's why I don't see him succeeding as a winger.
Nick: He is pretty decent at everything and there are not really any weaknesses that come to my mind right now. The reason why he didn't make our first-team was that he doesn't have an outstanding quality. Everything is decent to good but simply just not good enough to make it as a first-team member at Ajax.
Are you sad to see him leave Ajax?
Sjimmie: Not really to be honest. Because in the midfield we already have enough talent in Nouri, Van de Beek and De Jong. So a transfer was the only option for Clement and I hope he does well.
Nick: Yes and no. I think he could have become a decent squad player for Ajax in the future. He was at club the club for 11 yeas andd I secretly always want to see those players succeed, especially because he was clearly a good person, did what he was told to do and worked hard. As a player, however, he will not be missed.
Do you think he's ready for the Championship?
Sjimmie: I think it's a good move for him to get a new chance under a familiar face (Jaap Stam). He knows how Stam is as a coach, so no surprises for him. And physically he is in a good shape. As long as he can dictate the tempo with the ball at his feet he could be a good player for Reading. And he gives you a lot of depth because of his versatilty. He can even play as a striker or full-back.
Nick: I haven't watched enough of the Championship to make a clear judgement but I think fighting and hard working spirit of the Championship will suit him. Stam clearly rates him and I think he will be useful because of his versatility. Is he good enough to become a starter in a team fighting for promotion? I don't know, I doubt it. Maybe after one season once he has fully adapted to the league.