Kevin Diks 20 Defender Fiorentina Netherlands
Kevin Diks joined Vitesse at the age of nine and was promoted to the senior squad in 2014, making his debut at the age of 17. After all those years at the club he spent just two years in the first team but he featured regularly. By the start of 2015 he was Vitesse’s first choice right-back; he started 20 Eredivisie games in 2014/15, including the last 16.
2016 has been…
One step back to take two steps forward. Diks started 29 of his 30 Eredivisie appearances in 2015/16 and added goals and assists to his game. By July, with a move to Fiorentina imminent, he was happy to talk through his agent about how impatient he was to play for them. It was a move welcomed by all parties, but Diks has been forced to take a philosophical stance on his short-term prospects.
By the end of October he’d played just a few minutes for his new club in Serie A, and in November he dropped into the Primavera squad and has been rewarded with more regular football.
Nevertheless, Diks is happy, settled and patient, although he admits a few minutes in the first team by November wasn’t quite what he’d been hoping for. He also accepts that he might not be ready; Diks is a young man who understands the step up he’s taken. Even the physical strength of the players around him – a characteristic he previously used to his unfair disadvantage over opponents in the Netherlands – has been quickly noticed.
When it clicks for Diks it’s going to click hard. In a sense there’s something old-fashioned about his game. Though that’s an unfair label for a fine athlete with enough pace to be paradoxically labelled also as a modern footballer, a modern full-back stereotype he is not. His defensive game is solid, his anticipation excellent. Dawdling on the ball near Diks is not to be advised.
And yet the player he looks up to is Dani Alves, a choice somewhat at odds with his focus on defending and his modest attacking output so far. But he is technically handy on the ball, too, albeit slightly unorthodox in style thanks to a pair of long legs that look capable of gobbling up half the right wing in four strides.
2016 also brought the next step in Diks’ international career. He debuted for the Under-21 Netherlands side in March, but his introduction has been gradual and he didn’t play again until November. He spent some of the intervening period back with the Under-20s. Now past his twentieth birthday, Diks should be pushing to pin down a place first in the Under-21 squad, and then in the starting eleven. Beyond that, we can’t even guess at his international prospects. He faces formidable competition at right back – even within this very list – and he’s a long way from the front of the queue.
In Florence, the future is what Diks was bought for. A media-mooted loan spell with Pescara seems to make some sense, but a run in Fiorentina’s first team has to be one of his targets for 2017. Until that happens, we’re not going to know how good he can be.
C- The move has been made, but not ratified
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