One of the positives of not being one of Europe’s biggest leagues and having relatively small finances is that the Eredivisie is a fertile ground for bringing through young players. A lot of the clubs rely on the money that they receive for their youth graduates to run their clubs.
FC Groningen are well known for their ability to bring players through and have seen the likes of Arjen Robben and Luis Suarez develop at their club in recent years. Although the latter was brought in from Uruguay, it would be wrong to suggest that the club didn’t have an impact on where he is now.
After the news that Depay will join Manchester United, clubs have been reminded of the rewards that come with producing talented players and in this article Jake Jackman talks about some of the young players coming through who may not be well known yet.
Steven Bergwijn (PSV)
An obvious place to start is with a player who is at PSV with the reputation as the next Depay, and that is Steven Bergwijn, who made his debut at the weekend to become the youngest player to feature in the Eredivisie this season. The winger’s style of play has been compared to both Depay and Arjen Robben, which is high praise indeed, but the 17 year old has a long way before he can truly be talked about in the same breath as either. Last summer, he played an integral part in the Holland U17 side as they made the final of European Championships and Bergwijn won the award for the tournament’s best player. The winger is quick and direct which makes him difficult to play against, while he has a very good shot on him. Next season will be key to him as his chances in the first team will increase now that Depay has left the club.
Riechedly Bazoer (Ajax)
Ajax are well known for their ability to produce their own players and one of the most promising coming through at the moment is Riechedly Bazoer. He has been talked about as the future of Dutch football by Frank de Boer, while he has been compared with Clarence Seedord, Frank Rijkaard and Patrick Viera, which is big praise for an 18 year old. He is a complete midfielder as he can pass the ball well and he is more than capable in the tackle. As you would expect from an Ajax player, he has excellent vision on the pitch and has the ability to play defence splitting passes from deep. He has featured in a handful of games this season and showed his ability against FC Twente when he scored a wonderful volley to give his side the lead. He is seen as a key part of the new look Ajax side and it will be surprising if he isn’t a regular in the Eredivisie next season.
Bilal Ould Chikh (FC Twente)
The Twente player is another very talented attacker coming through and like Bergwijn, he is only 17 years old. He has been linked with a move to Manchester United in recent weeks after Louis van Gaal was impressed with the winger’s performances at the U17 European Championships. He has already featured for the first team at Twente, managing to score his first goal against Heracles in January. He is a very good dribbler and has already showed that in the Eredivisie, which is impressive given his tender age. He is another quick and direct attacker, who likes to run with the ball in the final third, which Holland have a lot of. Ould-Chikh is very mobile and stands at only 5’6” which makes him difficult to mark at times as he likes to weave in and out of defenders. He is set to leave FC Twente this summer which could be a mistake given he is already featuring for the first team.
Richairo Zivkovic (Ajax)
Many believe Ajax forward Richairo Zivkovic to be Holland’s next number nine, which is a big claim, but this 18 year old has already made his mark on the Eredivisie. He is another player developed by Groningen before moving to Ajax last summer. In his first season in Amsterdam, he hasn’t featured much for the first team, but he did make his Champions League debut, which was a huge achievement for the striker. He has also opened his league account for the club, although last season he managed to score 11 times in the Eredivisie for Groningen. He will be eager to feature more for Ajax next season as he attempts to make his mark on the league. He likes to run with the ball, and has the pace and strength to beat defenders when he does. The striker is very good in front of goal when the chances come his way and once he has been embedded into the Ajax style, he could be a very clinical forward for them.
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