The Dutch Risk

When it comes to transfer policy you can never really guarantee success as there’s risk involved in any transfer but when it comes to the Eredivise, it really is a lottery! You could unearth an absolute gem or you could be lumbered with a huge flop, the Eredivisie has thrown a few interesting players our way and here’s a look at some of the successes and flops to make the short move across Europe.

I must admit when I started writing this I was planning to make it much more centred around the flops from the Dutch League but after doing some research I began to realise that some teams had actually done extremely well with their dealings via the Netherlands. Perhaps the biggest success in recent times from the Eredivisie has to be the infamous Luis Suarez. Back in 2011 Liverpool had money to burn after selling Fernando Torres for £50m and they had mixed success with their replacements. The £35m move for Andy Carroll turned sour but on the other hand, capturing Luis Suarez for £22m turned out to be great business. Suarez went on to become a Liverpool legend and scored goals for fun on Merseyside. Despite his poor discipline, Suarez was worshipped by Liverpool fans and 3 years later Liverpool made over £40m profit on the Uruguayan meaning he can definitely be regarded as one of the better purchases.

Wind back a few years and we have another brilliant purchase but this time from Manchester United. In the Summer of 2000 they secured Ruud van Nistelrooy for £18.5m from PSV and I think we all know how that turned out! Van Nistelrooy bagged 95 league goals in 150 appearances for United and was even named the best striker in Europe in the 2002/2003 season.

One that might not spring to mind is Dirk Kuyt to Liverpool. Kuyt joined the Reds in 2006 and was a hugely reliable player for them, often providing crucial goals in big games. 71 goals during his time in England is perfect evidence of this . Kuyt was pivotal in Liverpool’s European campaign of 2007/2008, contributing 7 goals to the cause.

I could go on and on but other successes from the Eredivisie include the two Belgian centre backs who sought moves to North London in Vermaelen and Vertonghen. Although his impact in England’s top division has somewhat fizzled out, Wilfried Bony proved a shrewd move on Swansea’s part too, after joining from Vitesse. Southampton also acquired Graziano Pelle from the Netherlands and he enjoyed a few good seasons in the Premier League. Christian Eriksen is another who made the switch and he has become one of the best attacking midfielders in the league since. More recent successes include Daley Blind to United and Dusan Tadic, again, to the Saints.

It hasn’t all been plain-sailing though and some teams have been left bemused after shelling out large fees for players who have had less than no impact upon arrival. Afonso Alves most definitely falls into this category after Middlesbrough spent €20m on the Brazilian. Although that barely makes a dent in the market these days, just think how much that was 9 years ago! Despite the hype and huge fee, Alves managed a measly 4 league goals and by September of the next year had been shipped out to the Qatari League!

When thinking about flops from the Eredivisie, the first name that probably came to mind was Memphis Depay. The Dutch winger had been absolutely tearing the division up and United fans were bursting with excitement after his signing. The transfer proved to be completely unspectacular and Depay really struggled to settle in at Old Trafford and is now plying his trade over in France for Lyon, disappointed was an understatement for United fans!

Sunderland fans will sympathise after they had to go through a similar ordeal with Jozy Altidore. The American arrived with high hopes after scoring more than 1 in 2 for previous club AZ Alkmaar but managed just one strike for the Black Cats. Altidore’s performances were thoroughly underwhelming and he has since gone out to the MLS in a bid to rediscover his form with Toronto FC.

There are plenty more disappointments that the Eredivisie has served up but a few players in particular that have led Premier League fans to misery are Janssen to Spurs, Bryan Ruiz to Fulham, Marco Van Ginkel to Chelsea and let’s not forget duo Siem De Jong and Vurnon Anita who both had a go at cracking the Premier League with Newcastle.

I’d like to say that writing this made it glaringly obvious what the secret to success was when scouting players from the Eredivisie but in truth it just emphasised the point that sometimes it is just a lottery and all you can do is hope, because in football, anything can happen, but I guess that’s why we love it!

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