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Forgotten Friday – Royston Drenthe

The closing of the current transfer window was dominated by Radamel Falcao’s move to Manchester United and Danny Welbeck’s move to Arsenal. But one lesser move was the inspiration behind this week’s Forgotten Friday.

This week’s Forgotten Friday is former Dutch prodigy Royston Drenthe. Less than ten years ago Drenthe was seen as one of European football’s most prestigious talents. He was seen as a tricky midfield player mostly renowned for his creativity. He made his name with the Dutch under-21 side and now finds himself playing with Sheffield Wednesday; so where did it all go wrong?

He came through the youth set-up at Feyenoord and found himself in the first team aged eighteen. At this stage he was predominantly used as a left-winger where his pace and trickery caught the eye. He was part of a very strong Netherlands under-21 side, including other flops like Ryan Babel, where they won a European Championships in 2007. It was at this tournament that Drenthe’s potential really became noticeable.

A host of clubs declared an interest in the Dutchman and he moved to possibly the world’s biggest club, Real Madrid. He moved for a fee in the region of €15 million and was an instant hit. His career at the Bernabeu started relatively well as he played at left-back, centre-midfield and as a left winger, but the wheels came off very quickly and his career at Madrid ended.

He finished out his contract at Madrid with a number of loan deals. His first move was to fellow Spanish club, Hercules. He made some attempt to resurrect his career but the club were subsequently relegated. This time also saw Drenthe explore his interest in music where he recorded a rap song (link below). These off field actions helped to keep his name in people’s minds.

He moved to the Premier League on loan for the 2011-2012 season. Here he moved to Goodison Park and had a decent season at Everton with more than a few goals and assists but he did not stay on after his season long loan deal. The end of this season saw his contract at Real Madrid finally end and he went onto to sign a deal with Russian club, Alania Vladikavkaz, but he did not stay in Russia for too long.

His departure from Russia resulted in a return to England where agreed to join Championship club Reading. He signed a two year deal at the Madejski Stadium but did not make any real significant impact as Reading finished seventh, failing to make the play-offs. He left the Madejski Stadium at the end of the season.

This led to Drenthe’s latest move where transfer deadline day saw him move to Sheffield Wednesday. He remains in the second tier of English football which is a far cry from Champions League football with Real Madrid, football that Drenthe was playing only seven years ago.

At the moment it is very much a case of a talent wasted. He has only received one senior international cap with the Nethelands, having been one of their rising stars. It is amazing how a player can go from Real Madrid to Sheffield Wednesday in seven years, but this strange path is one that Drenthe has followed.

His career appears to be in tatters and a man that was once touted as Europe’s best young players is now an almost unknown in the Championship. It has been a quick and dramatic fall from grace.

Sean Cremin, Pundit Arena.

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