So Manchester United have signed Memphis Depay from PSV to add to the growing list of players who have swapped the Eredivisie for the Premier League in recent years. Here Pundit Arena’s Tom O Connor looks at a selection of the hits, misses and downright abominations that have crossed the English Channel.
Huerelho Gomes – the Brazilian stopper arrived at White Hart Lane with a burgeoning reputation following his outstanding clean sheet record in the Dutch top flight. After initially starting his career at Spurs very positively with some outstanding displays, the dream turned sour ending with a loan spell in Germany with Hoffenheim. Gomes is trying to rebuild his career in England at Watford and gained promotion to the Premier League this season.
Daryl Janmaat – signed for Newcastle United on the back of some excellent displays for the Dutch national team in the 2014 World Cup. However the ex Feyenoord player now finds himself embroiled in a relegation battle with Newcastle United and recently earned himself a suspension during a crucial period of the season. Despite The Magpies defensive failings, the left back is sure to be in demand if they are relegated to the Championship.
Hatem Trabelsi – Trabelsi arrived at Manchester City in 2006 following a trophy laden spell at club and international level- winning the league with Ajax twice along with the African Nations Cup as a marauding right back on the successful 2004 Tunisian team. However, his career in England wasn’t as trophy laden and he ended up in Saudi Arabia after one season in England.
Jaap Stam – was signed from PSV Eindhoven for over £10 million and proceeded to win the Treble with Manchester United in 1999. He was sold to Lazio soon after (2001), following a disagreement with Alex Ferguson. The Scot later admitted that he shouldn’t have let the big Dutchman leave. Stam lost in the Champions League final with AC Milan in 2005 and retired in 2007.
Ron Vlaar – is recognised as a key mainstay of the Dutch defence which performed admirably at the 2014 World Cup and he has been touted as a possible transfer target for some of the ‘Big Four’. He spent a successful period at Feyenoord despite suffering from a series of injuries and has proved to be a very canny signing for Aston Villa despite ongoing concerns over injuries.
Arjen Robben – When Chelsea paid Ajax £12 million to sign ex Groningen winger Arjen Robben in 2004 it was seen as another example of Chelsea paying high transfer fees. However, by the end of the 2004/5 season it was viewed by many as one of the Premier League’s greatest ever signings.
‘The Flying Dutchman’ was part of a deadly duo, along with Damien Duff that ripped up Premier League defences. His dribbling ability at pace was unrivalled and, following a few injury plagued years at Real Madrid, he is in a successful league winning team at Bayern Munich since 2009.
Bryan Ruiz – The talented Costa Rican was at the heart of Steve Mc Claren’s title winning FC Twente midfield, pulling the strings as well as firing in some terrific goals. With his wand of a left foot he seemed destined for greatness in England, however he joined a struggling Fulham side which ended up in the Championship, was loaned to Ajax in 2014 and it would be difficult to justify the fee of over £10 million The Cottagers paid.
Christian Eriksen – had long been touted as ‘one to watch’ in the Dutch league long before Spurs bought the Danish midfield schemer. The 23 year old former Ajax player is really finding his feet and is proving to be one of the more astute signings purchased with the proceeds of the Gareth Bale money.
The jury may still be out as he has only performed at the top level for two seasons but he’s definitely good value so far, winning the Danish Footballer of the Year for the past two years.
Ruud van Nistelrooy – should have signed for Manchester United a year earlier than he did but a horrible knee injury delayed his arrival. The Red Devils weren’t put off by his injury and their patience paid dividends as he scored by the hatful at Old Trafford, 150 goals in 219 games with the club and ended up being revered by the fans as one of the team’s greatest ever strikers before his departure to Real Madrid.
Robin Van Persie – When Arsene Wenger shelled out £2.75 million for a 20 year old striker with a goalscoring record of 1 in 4, few Arsenal fans thought the ex Feyenoord striker would be an adequate replacement for the departing Dennis Bergkamp but 8 years at The Gunners saw his departure for Old Trafford as the end of a fantastic Arsenal career. Despite the 2005 FA Cup win being his only major silverware with the London club, Van Persie is still rightly seen as being one of the Eredivisie’s best recent exports.
Alfonso Alves – The Middlesbrough faithful shudder when the name Afonso Alves is mentioned. Signed from Heerenven and with a goalscoring record of more than a goal a game in his final season, Boro fans thought they had signed the next Van Nistelrooy. However, his goalscoring record on Teeside was more like that of another United striker in the Premier League- Diego Forlan. Aves scored only 10 goals in 42 games (he had scored 45 in 39 games in the Eredivisie previous to his arrival in England) before being shipped out to Qatar club Al Sadd.
Subs include ex Telstar defender Arjan De Zeuw who played over 400 games in the top two English leagues, former NEC defender Swede Jonas Olsson who has been at the heart of the West Brom defence since 2008, ex Feyenoord and Liverpool legend Dirk Kuyt, ex Ajax and Liverpool forward Ryan ( Not quite a legend) Babel.
Then there’s Wilfried Bouma – very similar to Vlaar in so far as the ex PSV defender suffered with injuries during his 5 years at Villa Park but was loved by the fans, ex Liverpool and Ajax sensation Luis Suarez currently excelling at Barcelona and Wilfried Bony- the ex Vitesse and Swansea player has a good goalscoring record but can he keep it up at Manchester City?
The Eredivisie has a chequered history with producing players who have played in the Premier League. Will Depay end up as a Ruud or Ruiz- who can tell?