The year of 2014 is over, and it was undoubtedly a year to remember for Dutch football. A largely unfancied National Team finished 3rd place in the World Cup, demolishing Spain 5-1 on the way, Frank de Boer won a fourth consecutive title with Ajax, becoming the first manager to do so, and Louis van Gaal took on one of the biggest jobs in management when he when he was appointed as the Manchester United manager. 2015 is sure to be another big year, but just what can we expect?
Frank de Boer will leave Ajax
In 2010, off the pitch, Ajax was in turmoil, with Johan Cruyff clashing with the board. On the pitch however, Frank de Boer was on his way to his first eredivisie title with the Dutch giants. He has gone on to win three more league titles, playing the “Ajax way”, focusing on developing the club’s youngsters and playing an attractive style of football. He has gained many plaudits for this and has attracted the interest of some of Europe’s top clubs in recent seasons, but has always claimed to be happy at Ajax, saying that he wants to do well in Europe with them before he leaves. However, yet again his Ajax side fell at the first hurdle in the Champions League, and at the age of 44, with his stock higher than ever, it’s looking more and more likely that he’ll leave for one of Europe’s major leagues. As for his successor…
Jaap Stam will take over the reigns at Ajax
Due to the revolution of 2010 at Ajax, the majority of staff now are former players, that include the likes of Marc Overmars, Dennis Bergkamp, Edwin van der Sar, Wim Jonk and Jaap Stam. When Frank de Boer leaves, it is likely that Ajax will appoint someone within their ranks to replace him. Overmars and Van der Sar both have roles off the pitch, whilst Bergkamp has stated that he never wants to become a manager. That leaves Wim Jonk and Jaap Stam, and whilst de Boer has stated that he thinks they could both do a good job, Stam seems like the more likely option.
Ronald Koeman will win Manager of the Season
At the end of last season, Southampton lost their manager, Mauricio Pochettino to Spurs, and also lost many of their star players to bigger English clubs, so by the time Ronald Koeman had taken charge, many pundits tipped them to struggle, and some even said they could be drawn into a relegation battle. However, Koeman brought in two players who had been excellent in the Eredivisie for the past two seasons in Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle, and has lead the team to an impressive start in the league, currently sitting fourth in the table, and if they can hold on for a top four finish, Koeman will surely be crowned the Premier League’s manager of the season, surpassing the achievements of his predecessor, even after losing many key players.
Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordy Clasie will leave the Eredivisie
2014 was the year that many of the biggest Dutch talents left the Eredivisie after impressing at the 2014 World Cup. Daley Blind moved to English giants Manchester United, Bruno Martins-Indi moved to Portuguese powerhouses Porto, whilst Stefan de Vrij and Daryl Janmaat moved to Lazio and Newcastle respectively. However, Jordy Clasie, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay all decided to stay at their Dutch clubs for another season. All three have continued to impress in Holland and are attracting the interest of Europe’s biggest clubs. Clasie and Wijnaldum have both performed well on the pitch and have demonstrated good leadership skills in captaining their respective teams. Both have been linked with teams abroad, with Italy looking like likely destinations for both of them. With 10 goals and 3 assists in 13 appearances, Depay is clearly too good for the league, and is destined for much bigger things, with the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United showing interest.
PSV will break their seven year title drought
PSV were the dominant team in Holland from 1999 to 2007, winning seven league titles, and even reaching the Champions League semi-final in 2005, narrowly missing out on reaching the final. However, since then, Louis van Gaal has led AZ to the Eredivisie title, Steve McClaren did the same with FC Twente in 2008-09 and Frank de Boer’s Ajax have dominated since then. This season though, Phillip Cocu has built a young side capable of reclaiming the title. With the likes of Depay, Wijnaldum and Willems leading the charge, it looks like Ajax’s four year reign is about to be over, and with a four point lead at the top of the table, PSV hold their fate in their own hands, and come May, should be champions.
Ron Vlaar will join a bigger club
Ron Vlaar, the Aston Villa captain, has been linked with a move away from Villa Park for the last year, due to his contract expiring at the end of the season. Vlaar’s stock rose due to impressive performances at the World Cup, including a semi-final performance in which he silenced Lionel Messi. It is likely that Vlaar will want to seek a move to a bigger club, it is just a question of when. Villa can either cash in on him in January or choose to keep hold of him until the end of the season and let him go on a free transfer. Arsenal and Liverpool have both been linked with him, but with Van Gaal at the helm, and the side in need of defensive reinforcements, Manchester United looks like the most likely destination.
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