Tag Archives: Middlesbrough

Hakim Ziyech would thrive at Swansea City or Middlesbrough

Following the demotion of FC Twente, the future of Hakim Ziyech has become an interesting one to follow amidst Premier League interest. Swansea City and Middlesbrough have both been linked in recent days, which should excited fans of both clubs, as Ziyech has the potential to become a Champions League calibre number ten. In my opinion, he is one of the most exciting players to have come through the Eredivisie in recent years and given his club’s demotion and financial strife, he will be available at a very good price. If one of the clubs above manage to get the deal done for Ziyech, it would be a huge coup says Jake Jackman.

The Moroccan international was the standout player in the Eredivisie this season, not only for his goals and assists, but also for the manner in which he managed to get them. He was playing for a side that had to sell a lot of key players last summer, and a lot of pressure was put on him to carry the side. He was 22 at the beginning of the season and that is a heavy weight of expectation to carry on his shoulders, especially at a club with the esteemed history of FC Twente. Although the club won’t be playing in the Dutch top flight next season, that isn’t for footballing reasons, as Ziyech dragged them to a safe mid-table finish almost single-handedly.

Ziyech scored 17 times and gained 10 assists from the FC Twente midfield, in what was a hugely impressive individual season as a part of a struggling side. He was given the captaincy and led by example, showing that there is more to Ziyech than technical ability, but he is also a leader and revels in such a role. He has had opportunities to leave FC Twente in the last 12 months, but opted to stay put, and that decision has proven to be a great one from Ziyech. He has developed a lot over the last season and will be in a much better position to adapt to a new league when his inevitable move happens in the coming weeks.

In terms of his style, Ziyech is a risk taker in the final third, as he can play some sumptuous passes, which sometimes leads to a low completion rate. He is exciting to watch when he is dribbling with the ball as he is quick, nimble and uses skills effectively. His vision is that of a mature player, as he can see things other less talented attacking midfielders do not. He is good with both feet, and has an eye for goal. The most encouraging thing about his style is his intelligence in the final third as he knows when to shoot and when to pass to a team-mate. His set pieces are also devastating at times, and would be an asset to any side.

If he does come to England, comparisons will be drawn with Memphis Depay, who has struggled to adapt in the Premier League after a great season in Holland. Although there are similarities in that they were both involved in 27 goals, they are different players, with Ziyech preferring to play more centrally and is less direct than the Manchester United man. Depay wasn’t deployed correctly and has failed to make an impact as a result. Ziyech will need patience if he comes to England, as he will need to adapt to the more physical style of play that the English game is famed for.

He has adapted to every new challenge in his career to date. The midfielder adjusted quickly after his move to FC Twente, upped his game when his club put the attacking responsibility on his shoulders. He has also made his mark on the international scene quickly, already having two goals to his name for Morocco. It was a controversial decision to play for the African country after being part of a Dutch squad in the past and he could turn out to be a player the KNVB wish they would have made a bigger effort to keep.

The coming weeks will be interesting and Ziyech is a player who will no doubt continue to progress. He has overcome so many challenges already and his impressive ability to lead and perform to a higher level than he had before last season would have caught the eye of many European clubs. His mentality should mean he will get to the top of the game in the coming years, while his potential can’t be questioned. Whichever club gets him, will be getting a very talented dynamic number ten, capable of producing many goals and assists. He remains young and for the price that he will be available for, Ziyech offers little risk. Every club across Europe should be enquiring about him. The Premier League looks a likely destination, and after he adjusts to the physicality of the league, I expect Ziyech to thrive in England.


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Who is Middlesbrough’s new signing – Yanic Wildschut?

Yanic Wildschut has signed for English north-east side Middlesbrough today but could the winger be a positive addition to Boro’s squad? Martijn Hilhorst reveals all.

In the previous season he played twenty-five matches (18 for SC Heerenveen and seven on loan at ADO Den Haag) in which he only scored twice and only had one assist. His career is not impressive thus far: scoring 13 times in 119 matches. The stats prove he is possibly not the player Middlesbrough should be looking for.

Although on the plus side, he can be a threat, but not a big one.  He comes across as dangerous and possesses great speed to outrun any defender, but his ball-control is so poor that when he gets to the ball, his actions are not mind-blowing. However, his physical appearance is astounding (Six-foot one-inch) for someone that pacey.

Wildschut is a typical player you substitute on when struggling defensively and being forced to play on the counter. Do not expect a constant performance from him, Yanic is a player who could be absolutely brilliant or incredibly pitiful.

This would be the second winger from SC Heerenveen this transfer window to make a transfer to the Championship. The first one was Rajiv van la Parra that signed a four-year deal with Wolverhampton Wanderers last month.

*All stats courtesy of WhoScored and Squawka, via Opta.


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Middlesbrough target latest name linked to Feyenoord

Genk striker Jelle Vossen is latest name linked to Feyenoord to replace Graziano Pelle. The Rotterdam club are in dire need of players after losing Stefan de Vrij from their already depleted squad today.

Feyenoord have virtually monopolised the Eredivisie transfer talk this summer and Vossen seems to the latest in a huge lists of names set to replace Pelle who joined Southampton earlier this month. The Belgian international was left out of the Genk squad for their opening day 3-1 defeat to KV Mechelen and last night he was mentioned by a reliable source of the game on Belgian TV.

On Belgian sports programme Stadion, Dutch analyst Aad de Mos stated: “From my sources, Feyenoord could be in for Vossen. They are looking for a striker to replace Pelle and it would not surprise me if we here news of this on Monday.”

Genk have come out straight away and deny all rumours and stated that the 25-year-old was injured and thus why he was left out last night, however, Feyenoord are not the only club linked to Vossen. All summer long, the Belgian has been rumoured to be moving to English Championship with Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough. Karanka is known to be a big fan of the player although the club may struggle with raising the transfer fee for the player. Genk are waiting for a big bid for Vossen, who has hit the net 57 times in 105 games in the three years preceding last season.

To find out a bit more on Vossen we asked WorldFootballWeekly.com‘s Belgian expert Shane Ireland on his thoughts of the striker.

“Vossen is one of the Pro League’s deadliest attackers, regularly finding himself towards the top of the goalscoring rankings. However, during the 2013/14 season, the striker experienced a mediocre campaign by his standards, yet scored 12 goals at a rate of around one in every three matches.

Previous campaigns have seen Vossen experience truly superb goalscoring form – he was pipped to the Pro League top scorer award in both the 2010/11 and 2011/11 seasons, scoring an impressive 40 goals in 73 matches across the two years. Overall, in eight seasons at Genk, Vossen has scored 85 times in 216 appearances.

Vossen spent the 2009/10 season on loan at Cercle Brugge, ending this spell with six goals in 17 matches and at 25 years of age, the forward still has many years at the top level ahead of him, and will hope to add to his 12 Belgium caps if he seals a move to the Eredivisie.

The former Tongeren youth player has enjoyed a successful career at Genk, winning the Pro League in 2011 alongside the Super Cup in the same year, before adding to the Belgian Cup triumph in 2009 with another domestic cup success in 2013.

Vossen’s playing style is not that of a classic “number nine.” but he can offer a multitude of attacking options however. He can play in the out-and-out striker role, but is comfortable as a secondary forward, backing up another attacker. Vossen can also take up a deep role, allowing another striker more freedom but his statistics don’t lie – he is dangerous wherever he is played across the forward line.”

Whether Vossen ends up in the Eredivisie or the Championship, on his past record he surely can prove to be a hit in either.


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