Vincent Janssen – A good signing for Spurs?

Vincent Janssen is closing in on a move to join Tottenham, after AZ Alkmaar agreed to let him travel to London for talks with the North London club. They are desperate to bring in cover for Harry Kane, and add a different attacking option to the squad. They have been linked with higher profile forwards, but a move for Janssen represents value for money, while the Dutchman is unlikely to demand a starting berth to begin with. The fee wanted by his current club is believed to be around £12m, which could turn out to be a bargain says Jake Jackman.

The striker has had a meteoric rise to the very top of the Dutch game. He was the top scorer in the Eredivisie during his first season in the Dutch top flight. This led to his first Dutch call up and he has continued to perform at that level, scoring three times in five caps. It is his form for Holland that will have led to this transfer, as he has showed he can compete with the very best. He was arguably the best player on the pitch at Wembley as the Netherlands managed to beat England, scoring a penalty and assisting the winning goal.

Janssen is a unique centre forward in that he is strong and well built, allowing him to play the target man role well. His hold up play is excellent, but he also possesses an impressive passing range, an attribute we come to expect of any Dutch player. He is also quick, with his movement able to stretch defences. The striker is obviously a good finisher, as shown by his tally of 27 league goals in the Eredivisie this season.

He is lethal around the 18-yard box, and manages to find a way to get a shot away even in the most improbable situations. Spurs fans can also expect to see Janssen’s impressive link up play in the final third. He often plays intricate flicks and backheels to get his team-mates on the ball. Although he is born to score goals, he also has good vision in the final third and does look to gain assists as well as goals.

The Dutch forward is mentally strong and has stepped up every time a question is asked of him. He was signed as a back-up forward for AZ at the beginning of the season, but the departure of Aron Jóhannsson thrust him into the starting eleven. He initially struggled and didn’t score for several weeks. His confidence remained though and his self-belief carried him through a rough period as he adjusted to the Dutch top flight. That will be key again as he moves to England.

In terms of his primary tactical plan, Janssen is the perfect fit for Mauricio Pochettino. He is as similar to Harry Kane as they come, although Janssen is more of a number nine, while Kane does play a withdrawn role at times. The AZ Alkmaar forward will be able to come into the team and not alter the tactics hugely and I think that is a major reason he is joining Tottenham. It is a risk to buy a player off the back of just one top flight season, but his international performances show he can compete at a higher level.

This is a great signing for Spurs, and he perfectly fits the criteria that Pochettino will have wanted for a second choice striker. He is young, fits in well to his tactical plan and he won’t complain about being used mainly as a rotational option. However, he is hungry and the Dutch international has been successful at every level he has played at. He will believe in his own abilities and will try to break into the first team. You wouldn’t back against him either given how quickly he has emerged as the long term striking option for Oranje.

For Janssen personally, I think that another season in the Eredivisie would have been beneficial to develop further away from a pressured environment. However, it is difficult to turn down a move to the Premier League and Tottenham is a good club to join at the moment. They are on the up and have an exciting manager, who gives young players a chance. Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane have all showed that if you perform when given a chance, it is possible to break into the first team at White Hart Lane. Janssen will believe he can do that too and he could force Pochettino to devise an alternative tactic that could facilitate two strikers. The most important thing is for the Tottenham staff and fans to be patient with him as he settles in England. Memphis Depay wasn’t afforded that luxury and has been labelled a flop as a result. If he gets time, Janssen will thrive in England.


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Rafael van der Vaart: The Dutch Enigma

Battle weary, deadlocked in combat, two goals apiece on aggregate and deep into extra time at the Wildparkstadion, Karlsruher; after a draining 209 minutes over two legs of football, the two teams couldn’t be separated.

Both traditional names in the German game; one, Karlsruher SC, absent from the top flight for six seasons, now seemingly in the ascendency, riding the on the crest of a wave created by an emotive home crowd and most people’s favourites to finally consign the once mighty but now struggling, Hamburger SV, the only Bundesliga club to have never been relegated, to the drop for the first time in 52 years. 

With 115 minutes on the clock, the ball was drilled across the home team’s penalty box and found an unmarked, Nicolai Muller who simply couldn’t miss; Hamburger SV were safe for another year as Muller jubilantly charged through the police cordon to celebrate with the delirious travelling support.

Or were they?

If not for a last minute penalty save from German international, Rene Adler, Rafael van der Vaart’s final match for HSV, where he made 152 appearances and scored 45 goals over two spells, could yet have ended on a bitter note writes Steven Davies.

For Van der Vaart, once touted as being amongst the most creative players in the world, the past few months had been a challenging period for both the ailing Bundesliga giants and their iconic Dutchman who had been informed in March 2015 that he would not be offered a contract extension.

Thoughts immediately turned to the 32-year-old’s future destination; Spain, Turkey, Scotland, the USA, even a return to his native Netherlands with boyhood club, Ajax, were all mooted, while talk of unfulfilled potential remained, as ever, a constant companion.

Like his career, the story of the man himself is an unusual one.

Born in Heemskerk to a Dutch father and Spanish mother; Rafael van der Vaart grew up on a trailer park in Beverwijk near the banks of the North Sea which backed onto De Kennemers, his first club before he joined the famed AFC Ajax Academy at the age of 10.

Reminiscing of his childhood while a Tottenham Hotspur player in 2011, Van der Vaart told the Sunday Mail: “I had a fantastic time as a child. I like to go back there when I can.”

Playing football was always the most important thing to me. I always wanted to be a striker, to have a role as one of the stars in the team. When you want to play in that area of the pitch you need to work hard to become a top player.

“When I was growing up the ball was my best friend. I didn’t have an interest in toy cars or fire engines, computers or playing cowboys, it was only a football. It’s the way it had to be.”

“It was also a benefit to grow up living in a caravan. We had so many people near to us and many kids the same age.”

“We played football on the street and would be out there kicking a ball for hours and hours.”

Named AFC Ajax Talent of the Future in 1999, it was only a matter of time before Van der Vaart made his breakthrough at first team level and on 19th April 2000, aged just 17, he made his first team debut in a 1-1 draw against FC Den Bosch. Later, he was awarded both AFC Ajax Talent of the Year 2000 and Amsterdam Talent of the Year 2000.

The following season, Van der Vaart’s playing time increased and so too did this precocious young talent’s notoriety; being awarded AFC Ajax Player of the Year 2001, Amsterdam Sportsman of the Year 2001 as well as receiving the prestigious Dutch Football Talent of the Year (Young Player) 2001.

In spite of missing a great deal of the following season with two serious knee injuries, the latter of which requiring the removal of his entire meniscus, Van der Vaart, who netted 17 times in just 27 appearances, was named European Talent of the Year 2002 as the club completed the domestic double, winning both the Eredivisie Championship and the KNVB Beker with a 3-2 victory over FC Utrecht. Injury again limited his appearances the following season but did not diminish his effectiveness when on the field of play as he notched 22 goals in 30 appearances in all competitions. Although 2002/03 was a trophy-less season for the Amsterdam giants, save for success in the season opening, Johan Cruijff-schaal, Van der Vaart was on hand to fire the club into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with a crucial strike against Olympique Lyonnais.

Having represented his country at U17, U19 and U21 levels, an 18-year-old Van der Vaart was handed his full international debut against Andorra on 6th October 2001. He would go on to amass over 100 caps for the Netherlands and was a part of the Dutch squads selected for Euro 2004, 2006 FIFA World Cup, Euro 2008, 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012; being named vice-captain in 2010 and 2012 behind Giovanni van Bronckhorst and later Mark van Bommel.

As was often the case at club level, luck frequently deserted Van der Vaart on the international stage when it came to the big tournaments, playing a bit part role at both Euro 2004 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup; as first, Dick Advocaat and then Marco van Basten, failed to successfully accommodate Van der Vaart in their respective formations. Although the latter did manage to find a role for Van der Vaart two years later as the Netherlands put together an impressive run to the quarter finals of Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland before being surprisingly eliminated by Russia.

Despite a turbulent time off the field, where his relationship with The Music Factory VJ, Sylvie Meis, to whom he was married in 2005, celebrity lifestyle and physical fitness all dominated the headlines, Van der Vaart was influential in leading Ajax to another Eredivisie crown in 2003/04.

The following season, Ajax coach, Ronald Koeman named Van der Vaart team captain but he was stripped of the honour a few months later following a high profile fall out with Ajax teammate, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which led to the Swede’s exit from the Amsterdam Arena and Van der Vaart’s later refusal to play out of position in a UEFA Champions League match in December 2004. Incessant injury problems, a deteriorating relationship with Koeman as well as his successor Danny Blind, coupled with abuse from opposing fans regarding his relationship with Meis, led Van der Vaart to announce that he would leave the club in the summer of 2005.

Compared to David and Victoria Beckham, Van der Vaart and in particular, Meis, became the focus of anti-Semitic chants and unfounded verbal assaults from rival supporters. Such were the veracity of these that a match against ADO Den Haag in September 2004 was stopped by the referee with the crowd being warned via the stadium announcer, that the match could be abandoned if the abuse persisted. Such was the furore, the issue was even discussed in the Dutch parliament.

Instead of joining one of Europe’s leading clubs, such as Manchester United, Real Madrid or AC Milan, Van der Vaart opted instead to pen a deal with German side, Hamburger SV for a bargain fee of €5.5m.  Two years removed from being touted as one of the world’s brightest young stars who heralded the rejuvenation of the famed Ajax youth system, the Dutch starlet found himself making an inauspicious debut for his new club in the second round of the UEFA Intertoto Cup.

Dutch legend, Johan Cruijff echoed the confusion of many at the time in his column in De Telegraaf: “I don’t know what to say about it or what Rafael van der Vaart is doing in Hamburg. This would not have been thinkable two years ago, obviously things have not gone well for Van der Vaart.”

Despite having never been relegated in the history of the Bundesliga, Hamburger SV’s glory days were fading fast; the ‘Red Shorts’ having last tasted success in 1983, when the club secured both the Bundesliga crown and the UEFA European Cup – the year Van der Vaart was born.

Speaking to German news website Netzeitung shortly after his arrival in north Germany, Van der Vaart shed some light on his unusual choice of relocation: “When I came to Hamburg I was welcomed with open arms and the atmosphere just felt right. I don’t want people to think this is just a stepping stone for me, I want to achieve things with Hamburg.”

With a point to prove, Van der Vaart played a central role in Hamburger SV’s third place finish and 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup triumph, scoring 16 goals in 35 appearances in his first season at the club. The following season saw Van der Vaart awarded the captaincy but also the return of his injury woes. Struggling for much of the season in the bottom half of the table, the club eventually attained a seventh place finish following the arrival of fellow Dutchman, Huub Stevens as coach.

The final season of what would become his first spell with HSV was Van der Vaart’s most prolific for the club, netting 21 times in 44 appearances. Inevitably, as his contract with Hamburger SV wound down with the mercurial Dutchman opting out of signing an extension, rumours began to circulate as to where Van der Vaart would be playing in 2008/09, with many of European football’s biggest clubs being lined up as potential suitors.

Arguably, it was the biggest club of them all who eventually won the race to Van der Vaart’s much sought after signature, when Real Madrid agreed to pay a fee of €13m to Hamburger SV for the Dutch international’s services. Real’s only summer signing in 2008, Van der Vaart, who agreed a five year contract with the Spanish giants, scored on his league debut, a 4-3 victory over CD Numancia and was nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or in October 2008.

However, the Dutchman netted only five times in 42 appearances and, amid rumours of a fall out with coach, Juande Ramos, was largely used as a substitute towards the end of a disappointing campaign. The following season began with a reported fall out with Ramos’ successor, Manuel Pellegrini; Van der Vaart even found himself without a squad number in preseason as his preferred number 23 was handed to Esteban Granero. An agreement was eventually reached between player and club; Van der Vaart was awarded his preferred number and Granero, the number 24 shirt instead.

Despite his troubles at club level, Dutch Coach, Bert van Marwijk instilled Van der Vaart as an important first team player at international level and on the 12th August 2009 he was even given the captain’s armband for the Oranje in a friendly against England, scoring a goal in a game that ended 2-2. Later, Van der Vaart helped the Netherlands to an appearance in the FIFA World Cup Final in 2010 in South Africa where a strike by Spain’s, Andres Iniesta broke Dutch hearts.

In spite of Van der Vaart reiterating an intention to see out his contract with Real, an £8m bid by Tottenham Hotspur on 31st August 2010 was accepted and the Dutchman signed a four year deal with the London club. After which, speaking to Marca, Van der Vaart shed some light on his decision, sighting the fact that Los Blancos had wanted to offload him a year earlier after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka but that he had refused as his wife was undergoing treatment for breast cancer at the time: “She had a very serious illness and it is true that she had to be treated at the Clinica Quiron. Last season, they wanted me to leave but I couldn’t leave for that reason.”

Opening his account with three goals in four Premier League games in addition to a goal and an assist in two UEFA Champions League games, Van der Vaart was named Premier League Player of the Month for October 2010.

The Dutchman ended a stellar debut season with 15 goals in 36 appearances; finishing as the club’s top scorer in the Premier League with 13, almost a quarter of the club’s overall total for the season, as well as recording nine assists.

The following season, Van der Vaart equalled a club record when he scored the second in a 3-1 victory over Queen’s Park Rangers on 30th October 2011, scoring in five successive Premier League games and would end a consistent season with 13 goals in 40 appearances.

On the international stage however, it would be disappointment once more, despite scoring a goal in the third and final group game against Portugal at Euro 2012, it proved too little to save a disappointing campaign for van Marwijk’s Netherands, which ended with a Cristiano Ronaldo double sending Van der Vaart and the Dutch home early from the tournament.

Rumours of renewed interest from the Bundesliga surfaced as the transfer window drew to a close in August 2012, with former club Hamburger SV and Schalke 04 interested in securing the Dutch international. Eventually, Van der Vaart would opt for a return to the familiar and re-joined Hamburger SV for a second time; being unveiled initially as the club’s new vice-captain before being appointed captain once more in April 2013, succeeding Heiko Westermann.

However, Van der Vaart’s second spell with HSV would be a disappointing one when compared to his first. With the club in decline, a slew of managers came and went, each failing to turn around the club’s ailing fortunes; with Thorsten Fink, Rodolfo Esteban Cardoso, Bert van Marwijk, Mirko Slomko, Josef Zinnnauer, Peter Knabel and Bruno Labbadia all spending time in the hot seat at the Imtech Arena between Van der Vaart’s return to the club and his departure at the end of his contract in the summer of 2015.

Things were little better away from the field. On New Year’s Eve 2012, Van der Vaart’s personal life unravelled once more as he and wife Sylvie, separated amid accusations of domestic abuse which Van der Vaart publically refuted and of his wife having had an affair. But, speaking in January 2013 to German newspaper, Bild, Van der Vaart publically apologised for his actions: ‘It was very foolish of me. I’m an idiot. I’m very sorry. It should never have happened.”

His wife responded by telling the same newspaper that they had resolved their differences: ‘‘I ​​have forgiven him already.”

Despite being on more amicable terms; the couple, whose only child, Damien Rafael was born on 28th May 2006, separated shortly thereafter.

On the field, a seventh place finish in 2012/13 was followed by an alarming slide the following season which saw the club finish 16th and have to scrape through a promotion/relegation playoff with Sp Vgg Greuther Furth on away goals to retain their Bundesliga status.

Meanwhile, any hopes Van der Vaart may have harboured of making Louis van Gaal’s Dutch squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup were dashed when a calf injury forced him to withdraw after having been named in the provisional 30-man squad; seemingly bringing his international career to an ignominious end.

The 2014/15 Bundesliga campaign was little better and history repeated itself with Hamburger SV’s 16th place finish and the club coming through the promotion/ relegation playoffs by the skin of its teeth once more, this time beating Karsruher SC 3-2 on aggregate.

In his second spell with Hamburger SV, Van der Vaart was far less effective on the field; scoring 16 goals in 78 appearances over three seasons between August 2012 and June 2015. It is this record of diminishing returns on HSV’s substantial investment that led the fallen Bundesliga giants to opt against renewing the Dutchman’s contract.

It is also his recent record which has led potential suitors to harbour doubts about taking the plunge on the 32-year-old.

In late March 2015, soon after Hamburger SV announced that they and their enigmatic Dutch playmaking would be parting ways at the end of the 2014/15 Bundesliga season, reports surfaced of a potential move to Major League Soccer; with Sporting Kansas City CEO, Robb Heineman tweeting that the club had held talks with the player.

Asked about the prospect of heading to America, Van der Vaart told Kicker in March 2015, “Everything’s open at the moment, but I can imagine playing in America. I want to keep playing at a good level for a few years.”

But, a few weeks later, Sporting Kansas City coach, Peter Vermes revealed to the Kansas City Star that the Dutchman’s wage demands had put a halt on any potential move stateside, “It wouldn’t make sense for us. No disrespect to him, but it doesn’t make sense for the kind of numbers we’re talking.”

At the beginning of May 2015, Bild reported that a sentimental return to boyhood club, Ajax was on the cards with the club attempting to force Van der Vaart’s hand, issuing their former captain an ultimatum; the Amsterdam giants reportedly offering Van der Vaart a yearly salary of €1 million, plus a signing-on fee of another million.

At the time, Ajax coach, Frank De Boer urged Van der Vaart to make a decision on his future, telling Dutch TV AT5: “I understand that Rafael can’t immediately say yes. But we have issued an ultimatum to him. It’s about how he sees his future. Rafa also has to want [a return home]. I think that Rafael can be a good reinforcement.”

But by the end of the month, speaking to Voetbal International, Robert Geerlings, Van der Vaart’s agent, dismissed the option of a return home in favour of exploring other options including those from clubs in Spain, Turkey, Scotland and Italy, “Rafael has yet to decide his future. Ajax have waited long enough and it’s courtesy that we inform the club.”

His ambition as strong as ever, despite falling out of favour with Bondscoach, Guus Hiddink, Van der Vaart has stated he has no intention of retiring from international football and still harbours hopes of being selected should the Netherlands qualify for Euro 2016. Speaking to Kicker in March 2015, the Dutchman reiterated, “I will never retire, because I believe that it’s a great honour to play for your country. Should I find a good club and play well there, I can still be of value for the national team.”

This ambition, driven by a desire to leave a legacy, to not merely play a part but instead be the focal point at both club and international level became clear as Van der Vaart made his final decision; a decision every bit as unconventional as his career to date.

At the beginning of June 2015, after much speculation, Van der Vaart confirmed his intention to link up with newly promoted La Liga club, Real Betis; confirming to De Telegraaf that a discussion with sporting director, Eduardo Macia sold him on a move to Andalucía.

“Eduardo Macia told me Betis want to be the fourth best team in Spain; that in a short space of time the club will return to the upper echelons of La Liga. It’s a wonderful project.”

Having reportedly taken a pay cut, the move will see him relocate closer to family in nearby Chiclana, in the neighbouring Cadiz province, My roots are also here, so I want to make my contribution.”

The chance to be the fulcrum of this “wonderful project” clearly swayed the Dutchman’s thinking as he reportedly turned down Ajax’s much more lucrative offer to take up the challenge with Los Verdiblancos; a club whose one and only La Liga triumph to date occurred in 1935, last tasted Copa del Rey success in 2005 and have spent recent seasons yo-yo-ing between Spain’s top two divisions.

Unconventional, unpredictable and as enigmatic as ever; Rafael Van der Vaart will relish the prospect of being the man to take the expectancy of an ambitious but unfashionable club upon his shoulders for one more “wonderful project” in an eventful career.


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Where does the future lie for Jordy Clasie?

Jordy Clasie has been playing regularly for Feyenoord for four seasons now and he is the current captain, but the time might be coming for him to move on to pastures new. Feyenoord failed to perform like they did in the 2013/14 campaign and it could be the right time to leave the club. A fourth place finish was disappointing for Feyenoord and they need to get back to the top of the Dutch game next season and to do that they will need to spend money this summer. Although it will be difficult for the club to see Clasie move on, it would bring in much needed finances to fund their own transfer dealings writes Jack Jackman.

The midfielder has been linked to Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur in England, while he has been scouted by various other clubs across Europe. The link to Southampton is not surprising given that his former manager Ronald Koeman is the manager there and it looks to be a club that will suit the midfielder as Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic and Eljero Elia have all gone there and made an impact.

Clasie has the ability to settle and make an impact in the Premier League. He is a combative midfielder who is good at distributing the football, which makes him a rare commodity in the modern game. The role of the defensive midfielder is on the rise and the Dutchman fits the bill as a modern defensive midfielder who is a good tackler and is capable of dictating the tempo when his side is in possession. As is expected from Dutch footballers, he is good on the ball and has a great passing range. He is also known as one of the best set piece takers in the Eredivisie, which will add a couple of million onto his price tag.

At the age of 23, Clasie has the potential to go on and be a regular for the Dutch national side having picked up 11 caps already for Oranje. The Eredivisie is a great league to develop in for young players and Clasie has benefited from playing competitive football at a high level since his teens, but it’s difficult to become a top player without moving to one of Europe’s bigger leagues.

This season has been a good one for Clasie scoring twice and getting six assists which is a good return for a defensive minded midfielder. His passing, through balls and set pieces have stood out, while he is also an excellent reader of the game as testified by his tackling and interception stats. His passing accuracy of 83.6 highlights his ability on the ball and shows that he is capable of retaining possession.

This summer is going to be an interesting one for Feyenoord as they once again try to rebuild and put together a side good enough to match the side they had under Ronald Koeman. However they may have to do it without Clasie who looks like he will be leaving for pastures new and it could be Koeman who takes him away from the club. Southampton will need to buy a new centre midfielder if they lose Morgan Schneiderlin and Clasie would be the perfect replacement. He knows Koeman and the set up is there for him to make an immediate impact.


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Will Tottenham and Juventus target Memphis, please stop performing…

Jos Boesveld returns to discuss the amazing talents of PSV Eindhoven winger Memphis Depay.

What makes the Eredivisie our Eredivisie? Is it the combination between young talents and footballers who are at the end of their career? Is it the constant battle between Ajax, Feyenoord, PSV, FC Twente and maybe even Vitesse and AZ? If I had to make a choice, I would say the Eredivisie stands for a few exceptional talents every season. Kevin Strootman, Christian Eriksen, Dries Mertens, all very decent players who are being respected at their new clubs.

And we’ve got one again. His name? Memphis Depay.

I reckon he is the best attacker in the Dutch competition right now. Maybe even the best player overall, but then there’s still Daley Blind and that’s a different story for a different time. Depay shows his skills every week. If even I can see that, how will scouts, who are being paid to watch a lot of football players, look at Depay?

His first big test in the new season will be next Sunday, when he faces Ajax with his PSV. But in his last game against NAC Breda, he showed that little bit extra what makes a player interesting for bigger clubs. It’s no coincidence that it was first ‘only’ Tottenham Hotspur that was linked with Depay and last week the name of Juventus came to my ears.

With two beautiful free kicks he helped PSV get a victory over NAC Breda. It’s moments just like that which decide if a rumour is happening or not.

So all that I’m asking is simple: Memphis Depay, please stop performing in the upcoming matches. Don’t make us lose one of the biggest Dutch talents so soon. I want to enjoy the Eredivisie, with all of her talents. That’s what makes us special, that’s what gives us attention.


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Player Spotlight – Tottenham target Memphis Depay


Memphis Depay have been compared with Cristiano Ronaldo because of his playing style, but does he have what it takes to become a Premier League revelation if he would make the transfer to Tottenham Hotspur writes Martijn Hilhorst.

As a young kid you could see his potential, but after a combination of negative events in his young life he became a player with some mentality issues. The turnover in his career came in the name of Henk Fraser (current coach of ADO Den Haag). The former defender is known for his disciplined way of coaching his players. Apparently it helped the young Memphis to commit truly to football. His PSV- coach at the time was Fred Rutten (current coach Feyenoord) and he saw a bright future for the winger. In September 2011 he debuted for PSV in a cup match versus VVSB (0-8) where he scored the opening goal and later on the 0-5.

He made his Eredivisie debut on 26 February 2012 in the home match versus Feyenoord (3-2). His first goal came only a few weeks later on the 18th of March in an easy victory over Heerenveen (5-1). He finally played eight matches in which he scored three times. In 2012-13 he officially became a first squad player and he was used quite often for a player his age. In 20 matches he managed to score twice.

His career went sky high before the start of 2013-14 after the departure of left winger Mertens to Napoli. Now a year later we could definitely conclude that Memphis is a player which could make any right-back dizzy. Looking to some of his statistics it makes your head spin. An unbelievable number of shots and dribbles.


The difference among the number two Kostic is only six, but the success rate from Depay speaks for him. The whole top five are as expected wingers, but Depay is the only inverted winger which makes it harder to complete a dribble.


There is a negative side to his playing style, the first and most obvious conclusion is that Depay is to trigger-happy which you could clearly see at his ‘SCR’. But decision-making comes with age. And also with practicing and hard working which will not be a problem with his mentality.


Memphis may have some problems with making the right decision, but that doesn’t mean he is an egocentric footballer if you look to his created chances. Only the absolute brilliant Tadic finished above him. The difference in amount of CC’s with his teammates are immense. After Depay comes Stijn Schaars with fifty and as third comes Jürgen Locadia with 33. Combine those two players and they still have three less then Tottenham Hotspur target Depay.

After an excellent season followed the World Cup in Brazil where he had four appearances and he scored twice and gave one assist. He also became the youngest player for the Netherlands to score on a WC with 20 years, 4 months, 5 days (via @OptaJohan).

After a struggling season with PSV it became clear that Depay, under any circumstances, could perform. He is an exceptional talent which proved that he not only could outshine in the Eredivisie but also on the highest level versus the best opponents possible. It is hard to predict if he is ready for the Premier League, but one thing is clear that with his current form Tottenham won’t be the only club interested in him.

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


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The Mirror report of a Tottenham Hotspur bid of €10M plus Belgian winger Nacer Chadli for World Cup starlet Memphis Depay has been rubbished by leading PSV Eindhoven journalist Rik Elfrink.

The problems with the reports seem to stem from the fact that there has been no bid and PSV also want more money for the 20-year-old. Elfrink also went on to state that Depay is a probable starter tomorrow night when the Dutch side meet SKN St. Polten tomorrow night in a Europa League qualifier. The young Dutch forward is in Austria with the squad, which would be strange if a bid had been received and accepted.

Depay, who was named on the short list for young player of the tournament at the World Cup, scored two goals for his country during the group stages and has already appeared 60 times for PSV tallying 17 goals in the meantime.

It is no secret that he is highly sought after and White Hart Lane might be an ideal destination for the next stage of his development but in this instance of speculation it is simply a rumour.


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Spurs and Man Utd target considers move

Highly-rated PSV winger Memphis Depay, believed to be a target for Premier League duo Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, has said that he will consider leaving the Eindhoven club.

The 20-year-old impressed at the World Cup finals in Brazil this summer after an excellent campaign in the Eredivisie and now Depay has admitted that interest from the bigger clubs in Europe would prompt him to think about a move.

“I have done my time at PSV but if big clubs from big leagues ask, I will think about it. There is lots of interest but there is definitely an option to stay” he said. “I understand fans want me to play well this season in Eindhoven, but I’m one who decides how my career continues, no one else.”

Depay is under contract at PSV until June 2017 and it is reported that it would take a fee of over €20 million for PSV to consider the player leaving. In the player’s mind, one would have to say Manchester United, now managed by Louis van Gaal, would be the favourites to sign Depay. Former Oranje coach, Van Gaal was working closely with the winger in last month’s World Cup.


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The Dutch prodigy targeted by Tottenham and Man Utd

Memphis Depay is a name on everybody’s lips after he showed himself to be one of the brightest talents in football at this summer’s World Cup with two goals and one assist. During the tournament he became the youngest Dutch player to score at a World Cup at the age of just 20. He was nominated for the best young player of the tournament award, but was beaten to the accolade by Paul Pogba, but it’s clear that Depay is one of the most exciting young players in the world.


It’s not surprising that he has been linked with a move to England as Tottenham and Manchester United have both been linked, but it is believed it would take a fee upwards of £15m to get him, with PSV keen not to miss out on a big pay day for the player that needed a lot of development, especially when it came to the mental side of the game.

Although he is now known by some as the ‘Dutch Cristiano Ronaldo’, he had a lot of problems in his teenage years. He was a complicated child and was designated a life coach by PSV, who referred to Depay as ‘very angry’. The World Cup star struggled to adapt to the set up at the Dutch club, mainly due to his problems with authority. This developed from the problems he went through with his parents, who divorced when the winger was only four years of age, causing a great deal of emotional stress. It remains evident to this day as he wears ‘Memphis’ on the back of his shirt as he doesn’t feel a connection with his father or his name. Every great footballer normally has a troubling story and Depay is no different.

He overcame his personal issues to focus on football, and featured for Holland in several age groups, highlighting how he was always ahead of children of the same age when it came down to ability. In 2011, he was part of the under 17 side which won the European U17 Championship, scoring in the final. His experience at youth tournaments will have helped him a lot this summer when he excelled at his first senior tournament and nobody would doubt his ability to shine at more major tournaments in the future. He is often seen as a character who sometimes becomes over confident and even cocky when it comes to his own ability, but self belief is crucial in reaching the top of the game, and that is exactly where Depay is headed.

Depay was only 17 when he made his PSV debut in the Dutch Cup during an 8-0 demolition of WSB Noordwijkerhout, making his name with two goals. Yet he didn’t make his Eredivisie debut until he was a year older, making a cameo appearance against Feyenoord in 2012. His first league goal came against Heerenveen in a 5-1 victory, despite only being brought on for the closing stages of the match. It was clear he was going to become a key player for PSV very quickly, playing in 20 league matches during the 2012-13 season, but it was last season that he became a consistent starter, featuring in 32 matches.

After establishing himself at PSV, he quickly became one of the best players in the Eredivisie. Last season he netted 12 goals and managed to get 7 assists, while he also managed to score his first ever European goal. This summer saw him add his first international goal against Australia in a very nervy match for the Dutch, clearly showing his determined character. He wasn’t struck down by nerves, which happens to a lot of established players at international tournaments, let alone young players finding their way in the game. It’s clear Depay is only going one way and he may need to leave the Eredivisie to achieve his goals, the only question is whether that will be this summer, or at a later date.

For those who are unfamiliar with Depay, he is a player who can play all across the attacking positions, but it best suited to playing wide left. He is somebody who likes to dribble with the ball and has excellent ball control. His pace is crucial to his game as he can often use it to beat defenders of to make runs in behind the opposition defence, while he is also very skillful which makes him difficult to defend against. Depay is most dangerous from range as he has a terrific long shot, which resulted in a lot of goals last season. He is equally dangerous from free kicks. His main weakness is his decision making as he can often shoot when he has better options around him, but that is a trait common in young players and it will start to fade with experience.

It’s is unquestionable that the Dutch international is an exciting talent, whose reputation has been enhanced after his impressive performances at the World Cup, but it would be a gamble for a side to pay a big transfer fee for him. He has only had one full season as a first team regular and still has a lot to develop, in order to become a consistently good performer. It may be in his best interest to remain in the Eredivisie for another season to develop further, before making the move to a bigger league. It would do him no good to make a move to early and stagnate on the bench at a club like Tottenham who have a lot of attacking talent. A move to Manchester United may be perfect as he will be working with a manager he knows and the competition will be less fierce. He clearly has the right character to progress in the game, but a young player relies a lot on timing when it comes to his first big move. Is this summer the right time to leave for pastures new? The jury is out on that one.


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Dutch keeper joins Tottenham Hotspur

Dutch international shotstopper, Michel Vorm, is on the verge of being announced as a new player of Tottenham Hotspur. The move which comes as somewhat of a surprise given Hugo Lloris’ presence in Spurs’ squad, means Vorm will be given the chance to compete for a place against French international, Lloris.

No fee has been mentioned, but Vorm himself has spoken of his excitement at such an opportunity. The London-based club are set to compete in the Europa League next year, and Vorm expects to be given game time based on the hectic nature of their schedule next season.

Speaking to De Telegraaf, Vorm said “Every club has two top goalkeepers in their squad,” which might suggest he is happy to be second choice but continued, “It suits the club’s philosophy that there are two of us with Hugo and me. Especially when we see that Tottenham is active in a lot of competitions.”

Vorm clearly believes in his own ability to make an impact and capitalise on any chance that he is given with the first squad. Vorm was the third choice goalkeeper for a Netherlands’ squad that made it to the semi-final of the World Cup, but only featured a few seconds of play in the Third/Fourth place playoff during the competition.

Spurs’ and Vorm’s former club, Swansea, are currently swapping players at quite a rate. Icelandic forward Gylfi Sigurdsson is set to move back to Swansea, and Ben Davies has already signed for Spurs’, and joined them in Toronto on their preseason tour, from the Welsh club. Vorm is the latest transfer between the clubs.

Vorm turns 31 in October and began his career at FC Utrecht, amassing 157 appearances for the club before moving to Swansea City during the summer of 2011 and spending the last three years as the Swans number one.


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Tottenham linked to young Ajax defender

Prior to the World Cup and before every other player in The Netherlands squad was being linked with moves away, Ajax Director of Football, Marc Overmars issued a warning to Premier League clubs that Joel Veltman would not be leaving the Amsterdam ArenA. Despite the hands-off warning, the 22-year-old and links to the Premier League just won’t go away writes Robbie Dunne.

The Dutch centre-back is seen as a long term solution to Spurs’ issues at the back and amid growing worries over Younes Kaboul’s fitness, it appears they need youth and depth in their ranks. Their other centre-half options are Vlad Chiriches, who had a very good debut season in the Premiership, Michael Dawson, won is almost 31 and has injury woes of his own, and Jan Vertonghen, who is an Ajax Academy player himself and has been linked with moves away, along with not being happy to have been played out of position under Tim Sherwood and Andre Villas Boas.

Veltman played 25 times for Ajax last season and had more impressive stats than every centre-half option in the Spurs’ squad aside from Michael Dawson, who played seven more games.

Veltman moved to Ajax in 2001, having grown up in Velsen, Holland. He made his debut for the first team in 2012 and has been involved in their last two campaigns, last campaign his time on the field saw a dramatic incline, having only featured seven times in in the 2012/13 season. With Ajax having won the Eredivisie yet again, they are set to play Champions League football and with this exposure to the European game, Veltman’s rise is set to continue.

While he possesses the same characteristics that seem innate in so many young Dutch footballers, like being comfortable on the ball, being able to pass out of defense, he is also good in the air and strong in the tackle.

Having spoken with many Dutch experts, they see it increasingly unlikely that a summer move from Ajax will happen, seeing as Veltman is set to anchor Ajax’s first team yet again and needs more time to develop to the demands of the Premier League.

So, all the links to teams such as Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs are just wishful thinking? That remains the pressing question. Can Veltman afford to perhaps spend a season in the middle of his development on the bench? Would Arsenal, Spurs or Manchester United be better off allowing him to develop his talents further, arrange a fee perhaps in January and allow Veltman transition into his role as a superstar in the Premier League.

While the development of such a player remains a priority, it would be wise for the clubs looking at the classy centre-back to arrange a fee before the €3.5 million he is valued at turns into a fee that is astronomically higher.


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Gullit: Van Gaal to Tottenham is a ‘done deal’

Ruud Gullit believes that current Oranje head coach Louis van Gaal is set to become new Tottenham Hotspur manager in the new season and has even gone as far to state it is a ‘done deal’ writes Will Burns.

Talking to BBC’s Radio 5, Gullit claimed that the Dutchman has already met with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and Van Gaal has discussed terms of the deal that will start at the beginning of the new Premier League campaign in August.

This story will upset current boss Tim Sherwood, whom Spurs had appointed Tim Sherwood on an 18-month deal in December following the dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas but it appears the Dutchman will replace him in the summer.

Van Gaal, 62, will himself be replaced by Guus Hiddink as Netherlands national team coach after the upcoming World Cup finals in Brazil. Van Gaal recently publicized that he would like to manage in the Premier League stating: ‘I’ve always said that I want to work in the Premier League, so there’s a chance.’ 


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Miracle if Eriksen does not move to England next week

Dutch journalist Jaap de Groot, whom writes for De Telegraaf, has stated that it will be a ‘miracle’ if Ajax’s Christian Eriksen does not move to an English Premier League club this coming week.

Now the transfer window is closing and the clubs across Europe start to panic buy, De Groot assumes that Eriksen will leave Ajax this coming week: “The signs are showing now that a miracle must happen if the Dane not move to England over the next week. Perhaps to Liverpool, but another club could steal in to take him.”

Over the summer, Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool have been strongly linked to the Danish international but it is understood that Tottenham Hotspur have also been involved in talks with Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars over a transfer.

It is no secret that Manchester United is also in the hunt for a central midfielder. David Moyes has asked his old club Everton to allow Belgian international Marouane Fellani move to Old Trafford after already rejecting a bid from Moyes. The Toffees chairman Bill Kenwright rejected the joint bid for Fellani and Leighton Baines earlier this week, so Moyes may have look elsewhere. Anyone who has watched Eriksen in his time at Ajax would agree that the Dane would fit right in behind Robin van Persie.

However only yesterday, it was reported in Italy that Serie A giants AC Milan have joined the race for Eriksen after the player turned down a move to Germany with Bayer Leverkusen this past week.

Milan have turned to the Ajax playmaker after admitting defeat in their pursuit of CSKA Moscow’s Japanese playmaker Keisuke Honda, while AS Roma are also thought to be contemplating a bid if they lose Argentine midfielder Erik Lamela to Tottenham.

According to MilanNews.it, Italy, Spain and England remain the only likely destinations for the Dane, who has ruled out moves to Germany and Russia, despite strong interest from Leverkusen and Zenit St Petersburg. The website reports that Eriksen is open to a move to Italy after spending his recent summer holidays in Venice.

As previously stated, Eriksen reportedly wants Champions League football, a demand that would appear to rule out a move to Spurs and Liverpool.

That would appear to leave Manchester United or Milan in pole position for Eriksen providing the Italians are able to progress to the competition’s group stages this Wednesday night after drawing 1-1 with PSV in the first leg of their qualifying match last Tuesday.

Milan’s move for Honda has been one of the most protracted sagas of the off-season, but both sides now appear to have reached an impasse.

Juventus, who have automatically qualified for the Champions League group stages, were also previously credited with a move for Eriksen but AC Milan could beat their Serie A rivals to the 21-year-old’s signature as soon as next Wednesday when the second leg of their play-off against PSV takes place at the San Siro.

Wherever his destination, his assists, key passes, set-piece plays and powerful shooting will add something special to any team across the globe but the defending Eredivisie champions Ajax will miss him terribly. The Dane has already notched two goals in four games this campaign, even though the Amsterdammers have dropped points to currently sit fourth in the division.


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