Eredivisie talents for Arsenal to watch
Home to some of the most talented players in the world, the Eredivisie has given a lot to Arsenal with players like Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars and Robin Van Persie only being the tip of the iceberg. The Simple Ball’s creator, Kevin Bakx joins us once again to share some of the best talents coming out of the Netherlands.
Yet another Eredivisie season has come to an end, with Ajax clinching the title for a second year running and Feyenoord surprisingly snatching Champions League football away right in front of PSV’s nose. Twente had a disappointing end of season, only reaching European football because of the UEFA Fair Play awards, Heerenveen experienced a good run with their wonderful forwards and AZ were eventually let down by their squad-depth in the title-race. In short, it was another exciting round of games.
In similar, spectacular fashion, the Premier League season came to an end, with Arsenal qualifying themselves directly for the Champions League on the final day of the season, and in the process also finishing above Tottenham which made for another St. Totteringham’s Day.
As internationals partake in an all-important European Championship in Poland and the Ukraine, the hunting season has begun again though and Arsene Wenger will quite certainly not sit back as his side endure an on-going trophy drought. In his search for new additions, he will surely look at the Eredivisie too, for its big reputation regarding talent refinement is practically unrivalled. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride as I take you along in a tour around the best possible signings from Holland that Arsene can make.
Adam Maher – Central/Attacking Midfielder – AZ
Recently being voted Eredivisie Talent of the Year, Adam Maher has turned out as one of the brightest young midfielders in the world at AZ. The 18-year old was promoted into the senior side by manager Gert-Jan Verbeek and impressed the match fitness guru so much in training that he gave him a starting spot right away.
As the season progressed, Maher paid back the faith put into him and became an important cog in AZ’s title-race with his tireless running, dribbling technique and great composure in front of goal. Oranje manager Bert van Marwijk also believes in Maher, recently selecting him for a training stage with the senior national team in Lausanne. Whilst still not the finished product at all, he’s got amazing potential and could become one of best midfielders in the world.
Kevin Strootman – Central Midfielder – PSV
Strootman’s career has been a fairytale so far, working his way up from Sparta in the Dutch 2nd Division (the Jupiler League) to a starting spot with Eredivisie title contender PSV and a regular spot in Van Marwijk’s national team selection. He’s a man whom adapts quickly to his surroundings and despite his minor set-back this season, he’s still one of the best midfielders the league has to offer.
The 22-year old’s game is based around incisive passing, vision and driving runs into the box, qualities that all suit the English game. Defensively, he could still learn a thing or two but his physical build allows him to best his opponents, an aspect that’ll surely be developed even more in England. In short, Kevin’s a bright talent and one Arsene should surely consider.
Jordy Clasie – Central Midfielder – Feyenoord
This short, frail and above all inexperienced central midfielder surprised both friend and foe in his first season at Feyenoord, grabbing the side by the scruff of the neck and guiding it to Champions League football alongside Guidetti, El Ahmadi, Vlaar and Koeman. His diminutive style of passing has led to Xavi-comparisons and indeed, his quick, agile physique combined with an array of both short and long balls does make you think of the Spanish metronome.
Clasie isn’t just an asset to the offensive side of midfield though, as his game contains much more than just glamorous through balls and sweeping cross-field passes. He’s a very capable standing tackler and knows how to make good use of pressure from his deep, midfield spot. Perhaps not a direct strengthening to this Arsenal, like the above two are, but quite certainly one to watch for the future.
Christian Eriksen – Attacking Midfielder – Ajax
This young Danish playmaker didn’t catch many headlines in the past season, often being labelled as one of Ajax’s biggest disappointments this year. But don’t believe everything they say, as this past round has proved to be Eriksen’s most productive assist-season in his career. Forming an excellent tandem with Siem de Jong, he compensated his lack of goals with an overflow of assists.
But Eriksen’s not just an asset on the pitch, he’s also a fine persona to have in the dressing room; a consummate professional, he demands the best of himself and his teammates. He has his feet set firmly on the ground, works hard and tries to put his mark down on the side through his one-touch balls and intricate, lofty crosses. Despite indicating he’s not ready to leave Ajax yet and probably costing a hefty fee, Wenger will do good to consider this young Dane as a possible addition.