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6 big-money Premier League flops who arrived from the Dutch Eredivisie

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

Aston Villa

Top 5 expensive Belgian imports to the Premier League – a rundown of their performances

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Top 5 expensive Belgian imports to the Premier League

Aston Villa’s spending spree this summer has grabbed the headlines in the British tabloids.

Manager Dean Smith has already shelled out a lot of money to bring as many as ten new players so far, and with just a week remaining before the transfer deadline, it won’t be surprising to see Villa bag a couple of more scalps in the market.

Apart from ironing out permanent deals for last season’s loanees Tyrone Mings, Kortney Hause and Anwar El Ghazi, Villa have also splashed the cash to bring in the likes of Wesley Moraes, Matt Targett, Jota, Trezeguet, Ezri Konsa, Bjorn Engels and Douglas Luiz as a part of their massive squad overhaul this summer.

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Interestingly, it is the towering Brazilian centre-forward Wesley Moraes who has arrived at Villa Park in a club-record £22million deal from Belgian heavyweights Club Brugge, making him the most expensive Belgian import ever in the Premier League. 

Looking at the past records, Aston Villa have every reason to be confident of Wesley’s ability to make the step up to the Premier League because this is not the first time that Villa have raided the Belgian market for a centre-forward, having enjoyed resounding success with the transfer of Christian Benteke from KRC Genk back in the 2012-13 season.  

Besides the other elite leagues in Europe, the Belgian top-flight, despite not being regarded as a highly competitive ground, has emerged as one of the most reliable markets for the Premier League clubs over the years.

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Starting from Romelu Lukaku, Benteke and Aleksandar Mitrovic to the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, Wilfred Ndidi and, most recently, Leander Dendoncker, there have been numerous success stories of players acclimatising brilliantly to the Premier League after arriving from Belgian clubs. 

Apart from Aston Villa, the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton have also completed big-money raids on the Belgian market this summer to bring in Leandro Trossard and Moussa Djenepo, which further underpins the fact that the English clubs are not reluctant to show confidence in the Belgian league players.

While players arriving in the Premier League from the lower leagues in Europe are still viewed with suspicion by the English fans, it is worth mentioning here that a big number of the Belgian imports in the English top-flight have done their reputation no harm.

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It is definitely worth taking a look at some of the most expensive Belgian imports to the Premier League and how they have fared over the years.

Note: Only the initial sign-on amount in each case is taken into account and the values mentioned below do not include add-ons or performance-related bonuses.

Here are the 5 most expensive players to arrive in the Premier League from the Belgian market:

1. Jose Izquierdo – £13.5million

The diminutive Colombian winger rose to prominence in Europe during his three-year spell at Club Brugge in Belgium, where he carved out a real reputation for himself with his pace, breathtaking solo runs down the flanks and a terrific eye for goal. 

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The left-winger plundered 38 goals and 19 assists in 117 appearances for Brugge in all competitions, winning the Belgian Cup and the Belgian Pro League, whilst also impressing in the Europa League and the Champions League.

Izquierdo’s heroics in Belgium earned him a £13.5millionmove to the south coast of England with Brighton and Hove Albion in the summer of 2017 and the 27-year-old enjoyed a decent first season at the Amex Stadium, registering 5 goals and 3 assists in the Premier League. 

However, the Colombian fell out of favour in his second season under Chris Hughton and managed only 9 starts in the league. Now, it remains to be seen whether new manager Graham Potter has him in his plans for the upcoming campaign. 

2. Aleksandar Mitrovic – £13million

The towering Serbian centre-forward was one of the best emerging talents in Europe when Newcastle United splashed out £13million to sign him as a 20-year-old from Anderlecht in the summer of 2015.

Prior to his move to England, Mitrovic had already won the Serbian title with his boyhood club Partizan Belgrade and the Belgian Pro League in his debut campaign at Anderlecht.

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A strike rate of 44 goals in 90 appearances was apparently enough to convince Newcastle of Mitrovic’s talent and the Serb showed strong signs of promise in his debut season in the Premier League, although his 9 goals in the 2015-16 season weren’t enough to prevent relegation.

Despite Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship, Mitrovic stayed at St.James’ Park with a view to guiding the Magpies back to the top-flight at the first time of asking.

However, a drastic dip in form in the 2016-17 season saw the Serb find the net on only 4 occasions in 25 league appearances in the second-tier, although Benitez’s side did manage to secure promotion, courtesy of Dwight Gayle’s free-scoring form.

Mitrovic struggled in the 2017-18 season in the Premier League before resurrecting his career on loan at Fulham in the Championship, scoring 12 in 20 games in the second half of the 2017-18 season to propel the Cottagers to the top-flight. 

His promotion-winning heroics earned him a permanent deal at Craven Cottage and Mitrovic impressed with 11 goals in Fulham’s 2018-19 Premier League campaign, which ultimately ended in relegation.

3. Wilfred Ndidi – £15million

The tough-tackling and all-action central defensive midfielder made his professional debut for Genk back in the 2014-15 season and his resounding success in the Belgian top-flight over the next couple of seasons paved the way for a £15millionmove to Leicester City in January 2017. 

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Apart from impressing in the latter half of Leicester’s remarkable run to the quarter-finals of the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League, Ndidi soon established himself as one of the most daunting and energetic defensive midfielders in the Premier League and nailed down a regular starting role right from the beginning of his time at the King Power Stadium.

Still only 22, Ndidi has already proven himself to be an exceptional talent and Leicester might struggle to hold on to him for too long if he continues to develop at such a rapid rate.

The Nigerian international continues to be a massive bargain for Leicester and the Foxes are likely to recoup at least two to three times the money should they decide to move him on in the near future. 

4. Marouane Fellaini – £15million

The Belgian international’s towering frame and bushy haircut became a familiar sight for the Premier League fans for almost a decade, especially for those at Goodison Park and Old Trafford.

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Former Everton manager David Moyes was the man responsible for bringing the 6ft 4in central midfielder to the Premier League in 2008 for a fee of £15million from Standard Liege and he reunited with Fellaini at Man United in the summer of 2013.

Fellaini went on to enjoy an illustrious and distinguished career in English football, and racked up a mammoth 354 appearances in all competitions for Everton and Man United combined, registering a total of 55 goals and 38 assists in the process.

The 2018-19 season proved to be Fellaini’s swansong in the Premier League, with the Belgian moving to the Chinese Super League in January 2019.

However, he has to go down as one of the best ever Belgian imports in the history of the Premier League, having won the FA Cup, League Cup and the Europa League with Man United.

5. Romelu Lukaku- £12 million

Currently one of the stalwarts in the Premier League, Romelu Lukaku bagged 41 goals in 98 appearances for Anderlecht and won a host of honours in Belgium, including the Belgian Pro League in 2009-10 and the Ebony Shoe before earning a £12million move to Chelsea in 2011. 

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Lukaku, however, struggled for playtime at Stamford Bridge and established himself as a free-scoring forward in the Premier League during his loan spells, netting 17 for West Brom in the 2012-13 season and following it up with another 16 at Everton in the following campaign.

The Belgian centre-forward joined Everton permanently in 2014 and subsequently carved out a massive reputation for himself owing to his free-scoring form, which saw him rack up a staggering 87 goals in 166 appearances for the Toffees.

Following his resounding success at Everton, Lukaku moved to Man United for a fee of £75million in 2016 but his returns have dipped slightly during his stint at Old Trafford, as he has accumulated just 42 goals in 96 appearances for the Red Devils till date.

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Brighton and Hove Albion

Scout report of Brighton’s latest £15m signing Leandro Trossard – Will the Seagulls benefit from the move?

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Scout report: Brighton’s new signing Leandro Trossard

After days of speculation, Brighton & Hove Albion have finally signed Leandro Trossard for a fee around £15m (h/t Telegraph). This is Graham Potter’s second summer signing after the club managed to swoop in for Portsmouth centre-back Matt Clarke.

As mentioned in the report, the former Belgium U21 international was always attracted at the possibility of playing in the Premier League and enhancing his reputation.

He is also looking forward to playing in an attacking system potentially deployed by the new Brighton boss. (h/t Telegraph)

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Thus, expecting some fireworks from the 24-year-old shouldn’t come as a surprise because he has raised his game to an elite level in the past 15-18 months. He scored 22 goals and assisted a further 11 in 47 appearances in all competitions last season. 

Below, we will take a look at Trossard’s style of play and how he can be a real key player for Brighton in their forward line:

Player Analysis and scout report – Leandro Trossard

Learning his game at youth level at Bocholt VV and Genk respectively, Leandro Trossard couldn’t really find his feet at the senior level until 2016. He was being loaned out frequently, which prevented him from settling at one place and expressing his game to the world.

However, since the start of the 2016-17 campaign, he has been at the Genk first-team and shown gradual progress in every passing season. 

Just before the 16-17 term, he played one full season for Leuven and produced nine goals and seven assists in 31 appearances in all competitions.

Coming back to Genk in 16-17, he managed to score nine goals and provide six assists in 52 appearances in all competitions. At least in terms of playing at one club, the 24-year-old did that and gradually got better.

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The following season was a bit of a grind though, as he missed 110 days of action due to a torn muscle injury. For that reason, during the 17-18 campaign, he could only manage to play 19 games in all competitions, scoring eight and assisting four goals.

Now, as mentioned above, he was simply brilliant for Genk throughout the course of last season. Accumulating numbers of 33 direct goal contributions in 47 appearances are fantastic for a player who generally plays on the left wing.

As a matter of fact, Trossard can play as an attacking midfielder behind the striker but he didn’t do that very often in the Belgian league. Hence, we can expect him to play as a left-winger for Brighton too.

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In terms of his attributes, the 24-year-old’s pace is incredible to stretch the opposition defence. He’s also adept at dribbling past defenders in wide areas to create space for a shot by cutting inside or delivering an accurate cross.

His key passing is pretty accurate at most times and does manage to make the right decisions in the final third. 

Thus, looking at his progress as a player and the number of attributes he possesses, expecting the former Belgian youth international to be a key attacking player for Brighton in the coming seasons won’t be an overstatement.

Conclusion

All in all, we can conclude this piece by saying that the Seagulls have got a gem of a player at just £15m. His game has improved leaps and bounds in the last two years and could go to another level, playing in a competitive environment like the Premier League.

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Aston Villa

After spending £22.25m to sign this 22-year-old ace, Aston Villa must focus on their £30m pursuit of this defender

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Aston Villa Opinion: Wesley Moraes and Lewis Dunk could be the marquee signings that the Lions need to ensure Premier League survival

According to The Sun, Aston Villa have broken their club-record fee by forking out a staggering £22.25 million to complete the signing of Brazilian striker Wesley Moraes, with reports claiming that the 22-year-old is set to pen a five-year deal at Villa Park in the next 24 hours, subject to international clearance and work permit.

If Villa manage to get this one over the line, it would eclipse the £18 million that they paid to Sunderland for former England striker Darren Bent.

The Sun understands that Villa beat off competition from a number of clubs, including Bayer Leverkusen, Lazio and Guangzhou Evergrande, as well as Premier League outfits Newcastle United, West Ham and Arsenal, to finally get their hands on the coveted 22-year-old centre-forward.

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Moraes was expected to be a hot property in the summer transfer window following his goalscoring heroics for Belgian heavyweights Clube Brugge this past season. The Brazilian registered as many as 17 goals and 10 assists in 48 appearances across all competitions, playing a key role as Clube Brugge finished runners-up to Genk in the Belgian top-flight.

Dean Smith was under pressure to sign an out-and-out centre-forward following the return of star loanee Tammy Abraham to his parent club Chelsea. Abraham netted 26 goals in all competitions this past season to propel the Lions to a promotion-winning campaign in the Championship, as Smith’s men overcame Derby County in the playoff finals at Wembley last month.

Abraham was an ever-present for Villa up front in the Championship but they needed to bring in a like-for-like replacement to cover for his departure and it looks like they have found one in Wesley Moraes. The Brazilian has been compared to former Villa hitman Christian Benteke and Man United striker Romelu Lukaku due to his towering 6ft. 3-inch physique, although he has a bit more flair and a touch of South American elegance to his game.

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Noted for his supreme aerial prowess, intelligent movement, poaching instincts and incredible strength, Moraes also has the necessary level of pace, sharpness and agility to taste success at the highest level. The 22-year-old seemingly has all the attributes to fit seamlessly into the style of play prevalent in England and Villa would probably find themselves clear of the relegation zone if he manages to produce even half of what he did in Belgium this season.

Meanwhile, Wesley Moraes is not the only big name to be linked with a move to Villa Park, with Smith also plotting a sensational £30 million swoop for Brighton and Hove Albion and England centre-back Lewis Dunk as a part of his summer spending spree. (h/t Sun)

Dunk’s links with Villa is indicative of the fact that the Lions are looking for an overall squad upgrade in a bid to ensure survival in the Premier League and the towering centre-back is understandably the latest addition to the manager’s wishlist.

Villa have already struck deals for Birmingham City’s Jota, Wolves loanee Kortney Hause and Anwar El Ghazi, whilst having player’s like Matt Targett and Jack Butland on their shortlist. (h/t Sun)

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Vulnerability at the back was a major concern for Villa in the earlier stages of this past season in the Championship before the acquisition of Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause on loan in January transformed their backline into one of the most formidable in the division.

They have released players like Mile Jedinak, Alan Hutton and Tommy Elphick, and while that still leaves them with James Chester and Hause as viable options at centre-back, the Lions need to add more Premier League experience to their backline. And Brighton’s Lewis Dunk certainly fits the bill.

The 27-year-old 6ft. 4-inch centre-back is regarded as one of the best defenders outside the big-six in the Premier League and he certainly ticks the box in terms of experience as well, having racked up over 270 appearances for the Seagulls in all competitions over the course of 9 years.

Dunk perfectly combines the virtues of an old-school English centre-back and a modern-day ball-playing defender and it would be fair to say that he has been one of Brighton’s best players since their promotion to the top flight a couple of seasons back.

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Villa probably won’t go all out to complete a permanent deal for Mings if they manage to sign Dunk this summer and one can get the feeling that the 27-year-old would be an upgrade on the Bournemouth man.

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Villa have already shown plenty of ambition in the transfer market upon their promotion to the Premier League following a three-year absence and it is a no-brainer that the arrival of marquee signings like Wesley Moraes and Lewis Dunk would go a long way towards securing their future in the top-flight.

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