It is no surprise to many following the game in the Netherlands that AZ attacking midfielder Adam Maher is perhaps most coveted Dutch footballer at the moment.
Earlier this year in the January transfer window, English Premier League clubs knocked on the door of AZ Alkmaar, and now as the season ends and clubs around Europe await the opening of a new window, the English superpowers are ready to rumble throughout the summer for the Ducth international.
The Morrocan-born Oranje star is wanted by Eredivisie giants PSV and Ajax but the top clubs from the Premier League are in the market and they very well may tempt the playmaker to head to the British Isles.
British newspaper The Mirror have reported that Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are some clubs that Maher would like to attract.
In AZ, they are only too well aware of the foreign interest. On Maher, as what happens with many young Dutch talents an excessively high price tag has been slapped on so that AZ can make some major profit. It is rumoured that interested clubs can tempt AZ to sell him for around £15.4m, which is approximately equivalent to €18m.
But which club is the preference for Maher? Maher himself does not except anything to happen and says to he will wait until the summer. “I look to see which clubs are interested but nothing will be discussed until the summer. “
But as friend of the site, Scottish-based Dutch football expert Peter McVitie added, Maher has said over and over that he wishes to stay in Holland: ‘He has maintained since January that he wants to stay in Eredivisie and, since February, he has made clear that he wants to join one of Ajax or PSV in the summer. He lives in Amsterdam and has praised Ajax several times in recent weeks and he has actually said that he has an idea which club he would prefer to join.’
For Maher, who would like to leave with his ailing club, it is hoped that when he does leave this summer, AZ make as much as they can so they use the funds to be a force in the Eredivisie again.
Ajax have one hand on their third consecutive Eredivisie title after they defeated rivals PSV 3-2 at the Phillips Stadion on Sunday afternoon. Feyenoord dropped out of the race as they were held to a disappointing draw at RKC Waalwijk.
Marco van Basten’s side will be thanking his lucky stars and Alfreð Finnbogason after his late penalty gave Heerenveen all three points when it looked like they had gave them away. The bottom side, Willem II now look resigned to relegation when glancing at the league table but they did take the lead at Abe Lenstra Stadion.
After just 12 minutes, Willem found themselves ahead. 21 year old midfielder Ricardo Ippel grabbed a rebound from a free-kick and volleyed first time, beneath the crossbar which keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt should have done better with. The break came and Heerenveen were lucky just to be the solitary goal down but they arrived back out a different beast. This showed on 53 minutes as Belgian winger Yassine El Ghanassy calmly finishing from the back post after receiving a Patrick van Aanholt cross. Two minutes later, Heerenveen had competed the turnaround. Icelandic striker Finnbogason grabbed his 22nd in the league this season with an easy tap in. Some sloppy defending by the home side let Tim Cornelisse thread the ball through to Luxembourg striker Aurélien Joachim to grab a 80th minute leveller. The Tilburgers did not hold out to the point for long as captain Philipp Haastrup got caught guilty of hand ball. Taking his tally up to 23 for the league season, Finnbogason placed the penalty home and clinched the win.
AZ Alkmaar 6 (Altidore 28P, 34P, 37, van der Hoorn 45+1OG, Henriksen 61, Jóhannsson 90)
FC Utrecht 0
AZ’s relegation worries were eased after a huge 6-0 win over nine-man Utrecht which included a first-half hat-trick from American international striker Jozy Altidore. Utrecht would have felt their were fighting a losing battle when they had Anouar Kali and Jan Wuytens both sent off before Altidore put AZ 2-0 up after 34 minutes. Kali was sent off for a second yellow after conceding the penalty with a foul on Altidore in the 27th minute, this was the 1500th red card in the league.
To make matters worse for Utrecht, before the second penalty, first choice goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter had to be replaced due to injury and Jeroen Verhoeven found himself beaten five times before the final whistle.
RKC Waalwijk 1 (Duits 55)
Feyenoord 1 (Pelle 13P)
Feyenoord let their title hopes slip through their fingers after only achieving a draw away to RKC. Feyenoord started well and went ahead with Italian forward Graziano Pelle hiting a penalty home for his 23rd of the season.
In the 55th minute, RKC drew level with an individual effort from Sander Duits that shattered Feyenoord hearts and their title dreams.
Feyenoord coach Ronald Koeman stated he was “deeply disappointed in his team” in an TV interview afterwards.
Ajax look set to be champions again after defeating PSV 3-2 and now have a five point gap between themselves and second place Vitesse. It was the visitors that took the lead with striker Kolbein Sigthorsson jumping onto a mis-kicked Mark van Bommel ball just after half an hour gone. Ajax maybe should have had a chance to extend the lead with a penalty when young Danish striker Viktor Fischer was grabbed by Van Bommel just inside the box but nothing was given.
Ajax must have been hoping to take the lead in at half time, but this was not to be. Sloppy play by Christian Eriksen in his own half let Georginio Wijnaldum steal in and knock the ball onto Kevin Strootman. Strootman kept his cool, one on one with Jasper Cillessen and slided the ball through to the unmarked Jermaine Lens to finish.
PSV started the brighter at the start of the second half but it was Ajax to hit them on the counter attack and go 2-1 up. It was Christian Eriksen who made up for his first half error on 50 minutes with a wonderful solo effort that he smashed home at Boy Waterman’s front post. PSV pressed as Ajax sat back and defended their lead. On 67 minutes, PSV were back level. The impressive Dries Mertens’ whipping free-kick rattled off the post and Lens was there again to poke home with a well-controlled finish inside the post.
Ajax were furious just a minute later, when they should have definitely been awarded a penalty kick this time. Midfielder Lasse Schone sped past Jetro Willems and the young left-back brought the Dane down in the box, referee Björn Kuipers waved claims away. PSV replaced Willems with Erik Pieters and Ajax switched Christian Poulsen for Derk Boerrigter and on 76 minutes, both were involved in the fifth goal of the match. With his first touch of the game, Boerrigter pounced on a terrible mix-up between goalkeeper Waterman and Pieters to regain the lead.
PSV will need Ajax to drop two games to get back in the title race but with only four games left in the league season, it certainly looks like the title will be heading to Amsterdam again.
Left-back Jetro Willems signed a new deal with PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday afternoon to keep him at the Philips Stadion until summer 2017.
Willems joined PSV from Sparta Rotterdam in 2011 and the 19-year-old has rapidly established himself as a first-team regular. At 18 years and 71 days, while representing the Dutch national side, he became the youngest ever player at the 2012 European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.
Willems put pen to paper on the contract extension in the presence of his family, agent and PSV technical director Marcel Brands. Willems made twenty league appearances for PSV in his first season in Eindhoven and is also a key player in the current campaign.
“Things have gone really well very quickly” states Willems. “When I joined PSV from Sparta, my career really started and now I’ve played for my country at the 2012 Euro” said the left-back, beaming with pride, when speaking in an exclusive interview with the official PSV website.
The defender has scored one goal for PSV far, netting an equaliser in the 2-1 win over N.E.C. last season. He has not found the back of the net this season yet, but that does not worry Willems in the least. “I am a defender whose first duty is to defend.” Having signed a new deal, Willems says that winning the title with PSV is his next aim. “We want to be crowned champions and therefore we need a win over Ajax on Sunday” said Willems.
PSV and Vitesse have temporarily joined Ajax on sixty points with wins today and both are now joint top in a very close title race in the Eredivisie. Ajax play Heracles tomorrow knowing that they have no room for error for the remainder of the season with Feyenoord also snapping at their heels.
Vitesse 3 (Bony 28, 59, Ibarra 50)
NAC Breda 0
The on-fire Ivorian striker Wilfried ‘Daddy Cool’ Bony added his 28th and 29th goals of the season this evening in a 3-0 win over NAC Breda that fired Vitesse on sixty points to join PSV and Ajax at the top.
It was a really poor start to the game until on 28 minutes when Bony scored his 28th of the season in just 26 games. It was also the eighth Eredivisie game in a row in which he has scored a goal. Vitesse went from first gear to fifth gear as soon as Bony hit the net. Frenchman Gael Kakuta (on loan from Chelsea) nearly finished off a brilliant solo effort after crashing his shot off the crossbar just a minute later.
Renato Ibarra virtually sealed the game for Vitesse on 50 minutes with a wonderful solo goal after an error from NAC goalkeeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar. Bony was on the scoresheet again and killed the game off on 59 minutes for his 29th league goal of the season.
FC Twente 2 (Castaignos 44, Chadli 56)
Roda JC 0
FC Twente fianlly clinched their first win in 2013 in a home win over relegation worried Roda JC.
Luc Castaignos and Nacer Chadli were the goalscorers at the Grolsch Veste. Twente dominated but once again had great difficulty to find the net. Once there had been opportunities for Tim Hölscher, Chadli, the chances fell the way of Castaignos. The youngster smashed the ball home past goalkeeper Filip Kurto after a nice through ball from Leroy Fer.
Shortly after the break, Chadli made it 2-0 after he used great technique to curl the ball inside the post. Roda unfortunately could not break Twente down or get themselves back in the game and looking good contenders for the drop.
PEC Zwolle 1 (Mokhtar 21)
RKC Waalwijk 1 (Jozefzoon 7)
PEC Zwolle and RKC are also in relagation toruble and could not help their causes by sharing the points on Saturday evening. Florian Jozefzoon gave RKC an excellent start after just 7 minutes. The home team recovered, however, and Youness Mokhtar equaliser midway through the first half. After the break, both teams spurned chances to take the maximum points. Both RKC and Zwolle are on thirty points after 29 games, the teams are respectively thirteenth and fourteenth.
In a bland first half, it was the basement club Willem II that looked more likely to score with 19-year-old left-winger Virgil Misidjan, became a real thorn in PSV’s side throughout. But it was an old face that opened the scoring. Thirty-five year-old stalwart Marc Van Bommel hit a 25-yard low drive past Belgian goalkeeper David Meul in the Willem goal in first-half stoppage time. This was his 50th Eredivisie goal for PSV.
Willem grabbed an unlikely equalizer on 54 minutes through Jordens Peters with an accurate header past PSV ‘keeper Boy Waterman after Peters got on the end of a lovely whipped cross from Marc Höcher. PSV regained the lead and got their title challenge back on track fifteen minutes from the end with the reliant Swede striker Ola Toivonen. Toivonen finishing a wonderful move from the hardworking Memphis Depay. The points were settled minutes later with a rare Timothy Derijck goal. A exquistie backheeled flick by Kevin Strootman from a Atiba Hutchinson cross setup the big Belgian defender Derjick perfectly to head home.
The title looks to be heading to Amsterdam once again as Ajax take pole position with a thumping 4-1 win at home to NEC Nijmegen. Second placed PSV Eindhoven were held to a 2-2 draw away to relegation threatened Roda JC. Also, Ivorian hitman Wilfried ‘Daddy Cool’ Bony was on the scoresheet yet again as Vitesse climbed to third position with a win over PEC Zwolle.
Roda JC 2 (Demouge 13, Malki 87)
PSV Eindhoven 2 (Toivonen 19, 33)
PSV dropped a precious two points in the title race after a 2-2 draw with Roda JC in Kerkrade on Sunday afternoon. Swedish forward Ola Toivonen hit a first-half double as PSV came from behind after on-loan striker Frank Demouge’s (from League One side Bournemouth) early opener. With three minutes remaining, Syrian international Senharib Malki scored a dramatic equaliser to salvage a point for the hosts.
PSV were the better team in the first 45 minutes, but against the run of play, conceded a goal in the 13th minute. Demouge rose high above his marker to produce a glancing header from Mark-Jan Fledderus’ corner, scoring the opener for Ruud Brood’s team from their first meaningful chance. However, it was a short-lived lead for Roda, just six minutes later PSV drew level, when Toivonen headed home at the far post. PSV enjoyed most possession of the ball and attacking pair Memphis Depay and Jermain Lens had chances to put PSV ahead. Dick Advocaat’s team deservedly took the lead in the 33rd minute, after veteran Mark van Bommel delivered a fine cross from the right. Jeremain Lens just could not connect but Toivonen was on hand to tap home from close range for his second goal.
Roda keeper Kurto quickly left his line to deny Tim Matavz and minutes later the Slovenian striker, with only the keeper to beat, sent an effort just wide of the post. Disaster struck for PSV late in the goal, when Malki scored the dramatic leveller, putting away Mikołaj Lebedyński’s flick on.
HIGHLIGHTS (in Dutch)
Vitesse Arnhem 2 (Bony 9, Havenaar 35)
PEC Zwolle 1 (Valpoort 78)
PSV’s slip allowed Vitesse Arnhem to draw level in second place as they extended their winning run to six games with a 2-1 win over PEC Zwolle at the Gelredome. Hot property Wilfried Bony and Mike Havenaar fired them 2-0 by the break with Zwolle’s sole reply coming via Arsenio Valpoort with 12 minutes left. Bony opened the scoring after after good work by Ecuadorean Renato Ibarra just nine minutes capitalising on a mistake from Zwolle defence. It was shortly 2-0 in the 35th minute, Theo Janssen swung in a flawless free-kick to find the rising Havenaar to double the lead. Zwolle got a late consolation from young loanee winger Valpoort (from Heerenveen) and Theo Janssen gained a 93rd minute yellow card for jawjacking with the referee. He is now suspended for the next weekend’s game, at home against NAC Breda.
Erwin Koeman’s was delighed as his RKC Waalwijk side grabbed three much needed points completely outplaying ADO Den Haag to win 4-0, and to edge away from the relegation places. All four goals were a comedy of errors for team from The Hague but the result was no laughing matter. Mart Lieder got the ball rolling on ten minutes before a Vito Wormgoor own goal and Robert Braber’s goal shortly before half-time all but settled the match. Henrico Drost put the icing on the cake two minutes before time.
“Today, we had an aggressive attacking forward play and finished our chances,” Koeman told Eredivisie Live . “We were passionate and we deserved to win. We came in at half-time at 3-0, which was of course was delightful. I think we have done well. “
Heracles 1 (te Wierik 43)
AZ Alkmaar 2 (Henriksen 22, te Wierik 24OG)
AZ Alkmaar grabbed a much-needed win 2-1 at Heracles Almelo despite playing with ten men for almost an hour. Markus Henriksen’s 22nd-minute opener was followed by a Mike te Wierik own goal two minutes later to give AZ a 2-0 lead. Thomas Lam saw red on the hour but Heracles were only able to pull a single goal back when Te Wierik made up for his earlier blunder with a 43rd-minute goal.
Ajax 4 (Fischer 21, 77, van Ejiden 25OG, Babel 81)
NEC 1 (van der Velden 78)
Ajax moved three points clear at the top of the table with a 4-1 win over NEC Nijmegen, Sunday evening at the Amsterdam Arena. Viktor Fischer scoring his first goal since February, made it 1-0 on 21 minutes before a Rens Van Eijden own goal gave Ajax full control. Fischer’s second on 77 minutes was quickly nullified by a Nick Van der Velden goal but substitute Ryan Babel scored nine minutes from the end to ensure a wide-margin win.
Ajax dominating from the kick-off, opened the scoring with Danish youngster Fischer coolly finishing past NEC’s Hungarian goalkeeper Gábor Babos after impressive build up play by Lasse Schone and Siem de Jong. The lead was doubled just four minutes later thanks to an own goal from van Eijden trying to clear a Christian Eriksen cross-cum-shot.
The exciting Fischer extended Ajax’s lead further on 77 minutes with a delightful chip from the edge of the box. After recieving the ball from Eriksen, he spotted Babos off his line and the Dane delicately slipped his foot under the ball and glided it home into the top corner to get the crowd on their feet. NEC hit back right after play resumed with Nick van der Velden scoring after a fine pass from Victor Palsson to reduce the defecit. It only lasted three minutes as Ajax regained their three-goal advantage when substitute Ryan Babel added the fourth on 81 minutes.
Ajax now lay three points clear at the top of the pile but Frank de Boer knows that just one slip up could let PSV or Vitesse over take them.