KJ believes Jonathan David will move this summer, says 'he needs to move'
Canadian striker Jonathan David is ready to make his move to a big European club and he has his eyes on following in another top Canadian player's fresh footsteps.
David, who signed with Gent in Belgium in January of 2018, says he’s ready to make the next step to continue improving as a player and he sees Germany as the logical destination.
"It's time for me to move and go somewhere where I can keep developing and get to the potential that I have. The league that would suit me the most right now is the Bundesliga,” David told Sky Sports. “It's similar to the Belgian league in terms of the tempo and the physicality, but obviously the quality is higher in Germany and there is more competition."
The Bundesliga is the current proving ground of fellow Canadian Alphonso Davies, who recently received a five-year deal from seven-time defending champion Bayern Munich to stay with the team until 2025. David credits his Canadian international teammate for blazing a trail among the best players in the world.
"I think he just led the way for all of us,” said David. “People who had doubts about 'Can I make it, is this too big, am I ready for it?' I think he really just showed us that if you work hard, then everything is possible and right now he is proving that.”
The 20-year-old has scored 23 goals in all competitions this season for Gent, who finished the season in second place behind Club Brugge.
Born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Ottawa, David says he had his eyes on playing overseas from the outset of his career, though, he did have workouts with a few other clubs before agreeing to sign with Gent.
"We talked to my coach and my family, it was just about getting me trials in Europe because that's where I wanted to play," David said. "I didn't want to go to MLS, because I wanted to test myself in Europe. I had trials at Salzburg and Stuttgart which didn't work out. My agent then said there is another club in Belgium (Gent) and I had two trials with them and it went well so I joined.”
With 35 goals in 58 starts for the Belgian team, David has exploded onto the scene as a much-sought-after player. He credits not being rushed when he first arrived at Ghelamco Arena with allowing him to get comfortable in his new surroundings.
"What was good for my development is for the first six months I just trained with the team. That allowed me to adapt to the city and the playing style and helped me adapt to the league,” said David. “The level and intensity was much higher than what I had experienced before. I only did six months with the second team and then, right away, I was doing pre-season with the first team, and now I'm getting better, scoring goals and everything is going good.”
While David might tap the Bundesliga as a possible destination, it’s not the only league where he’s receiving interest. The Guardian reported in early April that Premier League sides Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham were on a long list of teams monitoring his progress.
"I want to become one of the best strikers in the world. That’s my goal,” David told the Guardian in April. “The Premier League is the best in the world and most competitive so obviously that is somewhere I would love to play in the future.”
David was also part of Canada’s famous 2-0 Nations League victory over the USA last year and believes the win has given both the team and fans the belief that qualifying for the next World Cup is possible.
"The win over USA last year was big for the whole nation,” said David. “It proved to us that we can do things with this team. It has given us more than just hope that we can make the World Cup in 2022. We all believe it is possible as long as we work together and play for one another.”