6 big-money Eredivisie flops in the Premier League
The Premier League in England, La Liga in Spain, Bundesliga in Germany, Serie A in Italy and Ligue 1 in France are generally accepted as the top five leagues in Europe and almost all the legendary figures to have graced the beautiful game over the past century have probably been a part of these elite leagues in the continent.
Owing to the plentiful riches on offer, the commercial appeal of the game, the diversity, the Premier League has been widely branded by the players and the media as arguably the most attractive league in Europe.
The other four in the list are not far behind either, although there is a lot of difference in relation to the level of competition, the overall style of play, as well as the kind of cash inflow in each of the elite leagues in Europe.
With that in mind, however, the Dutch Eredivisie, despite the rich footballing heritage, is not really considered as one of the most competitive leagues in the continent.
Yes, the Dutch top-flight continues to be a reliable breeding ground for top young talents but when it comes to the level of competition and the quality of the game, it is not really up there with the very best.
That doesn’t mean there is a shortage of talent in Holland but a large section of the English fans view the top-scorers arriving in the Premier League from the Eredivisie with suspicion.
That might seem a bit absurd considering the fact Dutch strikers Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie dominated the Premier League for a number of years since the turn of the decade, whilst Dennis Bergkamp had done the same in the late 90s.
To be honest, this kind of sceptical perception doesn’t really make sense given that Eredivisie imports to the Premier League have often offered great value for money, with Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Luis Suarez being some of the prime examples.
However, looking at things from another perspective, the failure of certain players arriving from the Eredivisie to live up to the expectations in the Premier League has somewhat tarnished the image of Dutch football over the past decade.
Keeping that in mind, let us take a look at some of the big-money flops who arrived in England from the Netherlands with a lot of promise but never really found their feet.
1. Afonso Alves (Heerenveen to Middlesbrough, 2008)
This is probably the transfer that marked a revolutionary change in the perception of strikers arriving from the Eredivisie, as the Brazilian international stunned the Boro fans with his spectacular failure in front of goal.
Alves was one of the hottest striking properties in Europe at that moment of time when Middlesbrough splashed a staggering £12.5million to sign him from Dutch club Heerenveen in January 2018, where he plundered 34 goals in 31 Eredivisie outings in the 2006-07 campaign.
The Brazilian came in with the reputation of being a bonafide goalscorer and made a bright start to life on Teesside, scoring 6 in his first 11 Premier League appearances in the second half of the 2007-08 season, including a hat-trick in an 8-1 victory over Man City.
However, he failed to build on that positive start and faded away from the thick of things in the following season, finding the net just 4 times over the course of 31 league appearances.
A tally of 10 goals in 42 Premier League outings wasn’t much to write home about for Alves and Middlesbrough. Having spent a large portion of their transfer budget on the Brazilian, they suffered relegation to the Championship just 16 months after signing him.
2. Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar to Sunderland, 2013)
The United States international’s ill-fated loan spell at Hull City from Villarreal was eclipsed by a scintillating 23-goal season in the Eredivisie at AZ Alkmaar.
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio, who was seemingly convinced of the player’s talent and potential, brought him back to the Premier League in the summer of 2013.
A quick, powerful and physically imposing forward, Altidore was tipped by many to be a massive hit in England but he failed miserably and found the net only once in 42 Premier League outings before the Black Cats eventually shipped him out to MLS outfit Toronto FC in 2015.
With such a conversion rate, he is bound to go down as one of the worst strikers ever in the history of the Premier League. Altidore though, did recover from his setbacks in England and he is currently racking up the goals in his homeland.
3. Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven to Man United, 2015)
Regarded as one of the burgeoning young talents in Europe at that time, Depay’s stocks were soaring sky-high in the summer of 2015, having come off a successful campaign in the Eredivisie which saw him top the scoring charts with 22 goals in 30 league outings.
Louis van Gaal, who was then in charge of Man United, forked out £25million to sign the speedster.
However, the Dutchman struggled to get to grips with the English game and failed to deliver the goods at Old Trafford, scoring only twice in 33 Premier League outings.
That is certainly better than Altidore’s record but Depay was deemed surplus to demands by new manager Jose Mourinho and was ultimately sold to Lyon in 2017.
Depay didn’t take long to rediscover his old free-scoring self in the Ligue 1 and he continues to be one of the most devastating attackers in Europe.
4. Vincent Janssen (AZ Alkmaar to Spurs, 2016)
Vincent Janssen topped the scoring charts in the Eredivisie with 27 goals for AZ Alkmaar in the 2015-16 season and bagged the Johann Cruyff Trophy (an award given to the Dutch Talent of the Year) before completing a £17m move to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2016. And we all know what followed.
The free-scoring Dutch star was brought in to compete with the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min for a spot in the line-up but he largely cut a forlorn figure on the sidelines and started only 7 Premier League games in his debut season.
As a matter of fact, he never started another Premier League game for Spurs after his horrible first season and managed to score twice in 31 league outings before putting an end to his ill-fated spell in North London this summer, with Mexican club Monterrey offering him an escape route.
Janssen has enough reason to defend his failures, considering that he wasn’t allowed much game time by manager Mauricio Pochettino.
5. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar to Brighton and Hove Albion, 2018)
Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s struggles in the Premier League over the past twelve months is the latest instance to remind the fans that goals in Holland are not exchangeable for ones in England, so much so that the top-scorers in the Eredivisie might completely fail to find the net in the Premier League.
The Iranian’s tally of 21 goals in the 2017-18 season at AZ Alkmaar earned him a big-money move to the Premier League with Brighton but a disastrous debut campaign on the south coast of England, which was blighted to a large extent by injuries, saw him draw a complete blank in 19 appearances for the Seagulls.
Jahanbskhsh, however, has time to rediscover his form and prove his critics wrong.