When you think back twenty years people can familiarize themselves with Dutch football being successful both in Europe and also the national team but the iconic Eredivisie is now suffering from a lack of investment throughout the league that is damaging the competitiveness of the Dutch top-flight. Top stars that have come to prominence in Holland are quickly shipped on to clubs in richer leagues with for a high fee and in the vast majority of cases become a success at their new clubs.
Players such as Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic were sold on from Feyenoord and Twente respectively for a fees combined of €20million with minimal investment being reproduced into the game for teams to become more competitive in European competitions. Prior to the commencement of the new league season last August, Feyenoord began their qualification campaign to enter into the Champions League against Besiktas but the sales of key players such as Bruno Martins Indi, Graziano Pelle, Stefan de Vrij and Daryl Janmaat and lack of replacement was deemed a bridge to far for qualification for Europe’s premier competition.
Investment in young Dutch talents has been ever present in Holland and almost a tradition of the footballing history and philosophy of the three-time World Cup runners up. The infamous Ajax youth academy has a reputation throughout Europe as one of the greatest academies in football currently, but to what benefit will is that to the clubs of the Eredivisie and supporters of the national team? In a league lacking the competitiveness of clubs against some of the world’s most iconic teams, it’s difficult to see how players can develop and push onto the international stage.
The summer of 2014 took fans of all nations by storm when Louis Van Gaal took his unfancied Netherland’s team to Brazil to try and go one step better than their successes of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The Dutch national side were expected to fail miserably during the competition with the players and team humiliated by world champions Spain and South American supremo’s Chille whom they faced in their group. Critics were humiliated when Van Gaal took Holland to the semi-finals with a team full of youthful promise. All the young players who started for Holland were all produced through clubs in the Eredivisie but with the exception of Memphis Depay and Jasper Cillessen, many of the Dutch top young stars were sold on for a large fees because of the potential witnessed in Brazil and their performances in domestically.
Where next for Dutch football and what is required to stop the out pour of players to other leagues people may ask, and it’s a question that has proved difficult to answer also. People may question that the league has had a tradition to sell their top stars to major European clubs but the last decade have proven that league is now suffering continentally. It may take investment of an Arab billionaire into a popular Dutch side to help with the attraction of foreign stars into the division to make it more successful. Should a foreign owner, and foreign stars with a mixture of Dutch youth products, would the Eredivisie become a larger success on a worldwide audience and re-create the famous European nights at the later stages of the UEFA Champions League.
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