All change at Heerenveen as coach Marco van Basten and the club’s all-time top scorer Alfred Finnbogason has both moved to bigger clubs, but Will Burns feels the Frisians have replaced well this summer.
Van Basten announced last winter that he would be leaving the Abe Lenstra Stadion after two years. Experiencing a great season at Cambuur, head coach Dwight Lodeweges did the unthinkable and announced in March that at the end of the current campaign, he would be crossing 30km over to Heerenveen. The Cambuur fans went ballistic and protested until Lodeweges resigned with immediate effect.
With vast knowledge of the game from all corners of the world, Lodeweges could turn out to be a great replacement. Lodeweges first major task at the club was finding a replacement for top scorer Finnbogason. The Icelander hit the net 53 times in just 65 games and earned a move to La Liga side Real Sociedad for €8million. Heerenveen went out shopping for a similar striker with a decent record and found Viborg FF’s Thomas Dalgaard.
Of course, the Danish attacker has some big boots to fill, however he has all the credentials to do so. In two years at Viborg, he has scored 50 goals in 75 games. Not a bad record at all and he should score goals in the Eredivisie. Especially, when he has a creative machine like Hakim Ziyech supplying him, the 21-year-old number ten scored nine times himself last term, with the same amount of assists.
Another casualty was the sale of Bilal Basacikoglu to Feyenoord. The Zaanstad-born winger notched six goals in 23 appearances last season and will be a big miss, especially going forward. Eighteen-year-old Norweigan winger Morten Thorsby was recruited from Stabaek after an impressive season in the Tippeligaen and will look to fill that void.
If all the new players, and the new coach, can get it together Heerenveen could have a good season. However, if not, mid-table obscurity beckons.
TRANSFERS INS AND OUT
IN: Jens Jurn Streutker (Heracles), Jordy Buijs (NAC Breda), Morten Thorsby (Stabaek IF), Thomas Dalgaard (Viborg FF).
OUT: Alfred Finnbogason (Real Sociedad), Anthony Lurling (FC Den Bosch), Arnold Kruiswijk (Vitesse), Bilal Basacikoglu (Feyenoord), Brian Vandenbussche (AA Gent), Chiel Kramer (FC Eindhoven), Christian Kum (Heerenveen), Joeri de Kamps (NAC Breda), Mitchell Dijks (Ajax), Rajiv van la Parra (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Ramon Zomer (Heracles), Uche Nwofor (VVV Venlo).
MANAGER – DWIGHT LODEWEGES
Coming from bitter rivals Cambuur at the end of the season, Lodeweges will face a baptism of fire when he returns to the Cambuurstadion in February with Heerenveen. The Canadian-born coach has broad shoulders and should lead Heerenveen to a top ten finish, although expectations inside the Abe Lenstra Stadion will be higher.
KEY PLAYER – HAKIM ZIYECH
One of the Eredivisie’s best and untapped talents, it is a surprise that Ziyech will be lining up in a blue and white shirt this season. Ziyech is an attacking midfielder with great trickery, a great mind and a great eye for a goal. He will lead from the front with Heerenveen this season, and new striker Dalgaard will thrive on the 20-year-old’s creativity.
PREDICTION – 10TH
BET VICTOR EREDIVISIE TITLE ODDS: 33/1
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