Eredivisie talents for Arsenal to consider

After pieces from Four Added On contributors Matt and Saurabh about some players from Serie A and Bundesliga that Arsenal could take a look at comes a third contribution; this time it’s Kevin, also of Four Added On, who profiles some Eredivisie players for Arsene Wenger’s scouting team to consider. You can find him on Twitter under the name @OracoloDiCalcio. Once again, thanks to Saurabh for providing the images within the article.

The Eredivisie is not the most popular league amongst most British fans, often being referred to as the Mickey Mouse league of Western Europe and as the league that brought forward flops like Mateja Kezman and Afonso Alves. What most people tend to forget though, is the fact that Holland has a rich history of being the breeding ground for many top players the European game has known such Romario, Ronaldo, Van Nistelrooy, Bergkamp, Van Basten and Cruyff.

In the light of Arsenal’s recent trophy drought, many fans have called out for strengthening the side with real top players. Despite this call for immediate success, it seems unlikely Wenger will leave his regular pattern of buying young and promising future stars to acquire some seasoned veterans. Here are some young starlets from the Eredivisie that might be on Wenger’s shortlist, be it right now or in the near future.

After the addition of Thomas Vermaelen to the side, whom proved to be an instant hit at the Emirates, many a Gunner has been eyeing several Belgian talents, of which Eden Hazard is probably the most intriguing one. There is however another young, Belgian star of the future that might have a future with the North Londoners, going by the name of Jan Vertonghen.

The pass-waving defender has almost everything needed to be an important force in the Premier League, displaying both physical strength and quality defensive positioning. Not only is he aerially strong, he also has a knack for putting in well-timed standing tackles which often leave his opponents fazed. As an extra, he, like most Dutch defenders, is also able to put in his fair share of work offensively, having a beautiful left-footed strike that can land with a running forward or in the back of the net. Ideal as a defender/defensive midfielder hybrid, he could prove to be the missing link for Arsenal’s defensive peril.

From Amsterdam, we travel to the other side of the country for a next possible candidate. We land in Enschede, De Grolsch Veste to be precise. Home of FC Twente and Costa Ricas biggest star player, nicknamed La Comadreja, the Weasel, for his slippery movements and his nature to get out of the tightest situations without must trouble. I am, of course, on about Bryan Ruiz.

When Ruiz arrived from Belgium, people didn’t expect much. But the left-footed wing wizard went on to score regularly and soon his name appeared on the goal charts right behind that of a certain Uruguayan now active in Merseyside. The Weasel knows how to score as well as assist, an uncommon trade for players nowadays. With his scoring prowess and technical ability, he might be the solution to Arsenal’s striker-problem by combining in a two-man football-driven striking partnership with Van Persie.

From the East right back to the West again, back to Amsterdam. There we find a particularly interesting Dutch international, because his contract runs out in the summer of 2012. And, more importantly, he has also indicated he wants to move abroad and play for a top side. He’s a goalkeeper and he listen to the name Maarten. Maarten Stekelenburg.

Nearly winning the World Cup with Holland wasn’t enough for the responsive world-class ‘keeper, as he went on to have a fantastic season in between the woodwork for the Dutch champions. With many a wonderful save, he amazed the crowds in the ArenA and earned himself the title of best Eredivisie goalkeeper with ease according to many pundits. Excellent ball-handling, razor-shape reflexes and a big, strong physique are all combined in this wonder man. Should Wenger lose faith in the two young Poles, he might consider making a move for the number one of the Godsons. Or somebody else will.

Up in the North, plays a stone-cold killer. This Slovenian striker is the definition of finishing, having scored 16 goals in 29 games and 13 goals in 32 games the season before. He’s not solely limited to his head, like a certain Morrocan in the Arsenal side, to score his goals though, scoring them with his left, right, head, butt, chest and just about every part of his body. His name is Tim Matavž.

Debuting for his nation in the World Cup only made the young Slovenian hungrier for success and soon, his hard work started paying off. In an outstanding season for Groningen, he found his scoring boots and was involved in many of the finishing moves by the side due to his excellent movement and timing. He’s not a real physical beast but considering Eduardo’s relative success at the Emirates, that might not be needed at all. Due to his scoring prowess, Tim would be a wise acquisition for the Londoners.

As we get back to the East again, we find our last possible target. A tough defender, physically imposing upon his opponents but also having the needed technical skills to cover space left behind by is rather slow partner in defence. On the back of his jersey, “Douglas” is printed, a typical Brasilian name.

Last season, Douglas showed once again why he’s rated as one of Holland’s best defenders, as he formed a nearly impenetrable partnership with veteran Wisgerhof. With his amazing physique, strong tackling and tight marking, he might prove to be that missing link in Arsenal’s sloppy defence of last season. Douglas does, however, have a short fuse, which came to light in an red-card incident earlier last year.

[after these three fine contributions, I’m still looking for more articles focusing on different leagues – if you consider yourself an expert on Ligue 1, La Liga or the Portuguese league, then let me know if you’re interested in writing a similar piece about your chosen league by emailing or commenting below]


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