The season did not start too great for Edwin van der Looi’s men, tasting defeat in the Europa League qualifiers against Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen. However, Will Burns thinks things can only get better for FC Groningen.
This summer’s transfer window has brought some great talent into the club with the money from the departure of the highly-rated Richairo Zivkovic to Ajax. Wide attacker Danny Hoesen came the opposite way, young goalkeeper Sergio Padt arrived from Belgian side AA Gent and Jarchinio Antonio, a skilful playmaker, was poached from Go Ahead Eagles. Defender Martijn van der Laan rounds off, four great first teamers that will add some great strength to an already relatively strong squad.
Filip Kostić is a serious threat to any team in the Eredivisie and lining up along with Tjaronn Chery, Hoesen and Antonia is a four-man attack that could beat any Dutch team on any given night. They are strong at the back too. Brazilian central defender Eric Botteghin has improved over time, with left-back Lorenzo Burnet a dangerous player on the left-wing. Twenty-year-old Hans Hateboer is an impressive youngster, the 76-game experience of Johan Kappelhof will help him and new signing Van der Laan rounds out a strong defence.
After a tough year last, that gave Groningen a respectable fifth place I can see the Pride of the North having a similar season under Edwin van der Looi with european football, once again be the main objective.
TRANSFERS INS AND OUT
IN: Danny Hoesen (Ajax), Dino Islamovic (Fulham), Jarchinio Antonia (Go Ahead Eagles), Martijn van der Laan (SC Cambuur), Peter van der Vlag (FC Emmen), Sergio Padt (AA Gent).
OUT: Giliano Wijnaldum (Go Ahead Eagles), Krisztián Adorjan (Liverpool), Marco Bizot (Racing Genk), Richairo Zivkovic (Ajax), Stefano Magnasco (Universidad Catolica), William Troost-Ekong (FC Dordrecht)
MANAGER – EDWIN VAN DER LOOI
Cool customer Van der Looi enters his second season at Groningen, after a successful first where he led the Groningen to fifth. Unfortunately, he possibly does not have the squad to reach above that this time round either but European football qualification will keep his fond in the fans hearts.
KEY PLAYER – FILIP KOSTIĆ
Serbian winger Filip Kostić is an instrumental figure for Groningen, who was wanted by Sporting Lisbon and Stuttgart earlier this summer, which the board has resisted offers from. It’s not surprising that European big boys will chase the 21-year-old wide man who has a great eye for goal. Kostić made 38 appearances for Groningen in the Eredivisie last season and chipped in with 11 goals for Van de Looi’s men.
PREDICTION – 6TH
Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.