With masses of talent leaving the Eredivisie as it establishes as a European hotbed of talent, I preview the players who will grasp the spotlight this season.

  • By Chaka Simbeye
  • Follow Chaka on Twitter

achahbar feyAnass Achahbar-Feyenoord

The 21 year-old Dutch-Moroccan striker spent much of the season on the periphery behind Colin Karim-Richards and Michele Te Vrede in the pecking order. The player was a breath of fresh air in a side bereft of motivation, scoring the winning goal in added time against Dordrecht in a 2-1 victory. However the highlight of his season came in a 2-1 victory against Champions PSV where he scored both goals for his team. The first was scored when he acrobatically adjusted his body to volley an aerial ball while the second was a well-taken volley from the left to the bottom right corner. He then scored his fourth goal of the season against AZ Alkmaar when he took down an Elvis Manu cross from the left before volleying it into the roof of the net. In the second leg of the Europa playoff against Heerenveen, Achahbar bent low to deflect a Jordy Clasie shot past Nordfeldt. Achahbar is a technically efficient striker with great awareness who can grind hard for his team. New Feyenoord manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst heralded him as the best striker at the club. It will be fascinating to see what the young striker can do with a season of first team football under his belt. However, this season he will be competing with the likes of Dirk Kuyt, Colin Kazim-Richards and Michiel Kramer.

basacBilal Basacikoglu-Feyenoord

The 20 year-old winger was also on the outside looking in for most of last season for Feyenoord under Fred Rutten. However, he played the full 90 minutes in both of the Europa playoffs under Giovanni van Bronckhorst. A hardworking midfielder with silky dribbling ability, he showcased his talents as Feyenoord lost the first leg and drew the second after extra time. His crossing ability caused problems for the Heerenveen defence on many occasions as he was cavalier and daring on the ball. On one occasion in the second-leg, he slid through a sleek pass that sent Jens Toonstra one on one with the goalkeeper; Toonstra chipped the goalkeeper only to have his opportunity cleared off the line by a Heerenveen defender. Early days in van Bronckhorst’s first managerial job indicate that the youngster will be trusted with more game time this season.

fischer 4Viktor Fischer-Ajax

Viktor Fischer has been forced to watch Ajax relinquish their Eredivisie crown to PSV after being on the side-lines for the last 13 months with a hamstring injury. The big injury was a hindrance to the development of the 20 year-old Dane who has been touted for big things in the past. However, the young forward is returning with an even greater yearning for football and more importantly to score goals. An injury to Arkadiusz Milik on international duty greatly held up Ajax’s season as they failed to find a natural goal scorer. Ajax manager Frank De Boer has also had to deal with disciplining want-away winger Ricardo Kishna. Fischer, who played Ajax’s last 4 games in the central striker role, showed a keen sense of instinct around the box to score 3 goals in 4 games. His movement to get himself in scoring positions was as sound as his finishing. It will be interesting to see if he can find a place in an Ajax team that want to recover the Eredivisie from PSV. This season, he will also be vying for Kishna’s left wing-role with Daley Sinkgraven as he seeks to kick start his career.

janssen az aaaaVincent Janssen-AZ

The towering forward joined AZ Alkmaar from Jupiler League side Almere City after a season where he scored 19 goals. He also impressed in the Toulon Youth Tournament as well as contributing 10 goals in pre-season and a goal in a Europa League qualifier. The Dutch youth striker is an instinctive poacher in the box whilst being commanding in the air and will be a thorn in the side of many Eredivisie defences. The Alkmaar based side will need to replace the goals of Steven Berghuis, Nemanja Gudelj, and Aron Johannson who were the team’s top three scorers last term.

darri fbfhfhfBrahim Darri-Heracles

The tricky young winger groomed in Vitesse Arnheim’s academy completed a permanent move to Eredivisie minnows Heracles Almelo in January, during a loan spell. An exciting winger who likes to cut inside, link play and drive shots may yet prove that Vitesse made a big mistake in letting him go. The youngster attempted dribbles more frequently than former PSV wideman Memphis Depay with a dribble completed every 28 minutes compared to Depay’s 31. He also managed 3 dribbles and 2 shots per game last season for Heracles. However, he will need to be more effective defensively and offensively if he is to truly grace the Eredivisie with his flair as he only managed to score 1 goal while Depay completed 65 dribbles to his 22.

haye azThom Haye-AZ

Another player set to help AZ Alkmaar negate the loss of Nemanja Gudelj, is Thom Haye; a player who played a variety of roles last season for Alkmaar. Due to the influence of Gudelj in midfield, the 20 year old sometimes took up a more attacking role but should take up a role in central midfield this season. The youngster is a technically skilled as well as being able to drive the ball forward in lung-busting runs. At the Toulon Youth Tournament, he played in a midfield three primarily sharing the attacking and defensive responsibilities with Clint Leemans while AZ teammate Joris Van Overeem was a more attacking midfielder. There, he showed a willingness to take games by the scruff of the neck and control games by demanding possession from defenders playing the ball forward. However, confusion between him and Leemans proved calamitous for the Dutch as well as a lacklustre defence. He will need to improve his positioning, especially during transitions to hold down a place at AZ Alkmaar.

overeemJoris Van Overeem-AZ

Joris Van Overeem spent last season on loan at FC Dordrecht but is now set to take-up a more integral role in John Van Den Brom’s altered AZ Alkmaar side. Van Overeem’s loan spell at Dordrecht certainly proved fruitful as he was the only player who saw action in all 34 matches of the Eredivisie and also totalled the highest minutes with 2630. He is an attacking midfielder gifted with a measured first touch and a very dangerous crossing ability. He played on the right flank against Ajax and although AZ were humbled 3-0 by last year’s runner ups, he certainly impressed as he was heavily involved in most of the home team’s chances. He also managed to score one goal for AZ in Europa League qualifying against Istanbul Basaksehir. The AZ number 8 will need to improve his tackling though as an unnecessary foul vs Ajax led to Anwar El Ghazi’s first goal. This will be an important season for him to compete for a starting role in the hotbed of talent that is AZ Alkmaar while building on his 2 goals and 4 assists from last season at Dordrecht.

bazoer ajagjRiechedly Bazoer-Ajax

The Ajax number 6 is fast becoming a pivotal player in Frank De Boer’s side as the holding midfielder. The youngster only turns 19 in October but has already made PSV regret losing him and making Manchester City wish they had snapped him up. He possesses a strong and tall build that allows him to be commanding in possession while his sleek, light footed dribbling ability proves a nuisance for most opposition he faces. Last season he managed an 87% pass succession rate at an average pass distance of 16 metres while winning a solid 54% of his aerial duels. He proved himself as an all action midfielder with 2 tackles, 1 interception and 1 clearance per game. This season he hopes to nail down a permanent role in Ajax’s starting lineup as a defensive midfielder at the tender age of 18.

diks vitKevin Diks-Vitesse

The Dutch youth international usurped Chelsea loanee Wallace for the right-back spot and will start the season as Vitesse’s starting right-back. The 18 year-old was unfazed by big games as he enjoys diving into tackles completing an excellent 3 tackles per game while a keen understanding of the game allowed him to make 2 interceptions per game. The youngster also possesses adequate skills on the ball as he managed to complete 80% of his passes while also averaging 3 accurate long balls per game. However, he will need to improve his crossing ability on the overlap but is well on his way to becoming an important fixture in Peter Bosz’ side.

st juste heeJerry St Juste-Heerenveen

A player from the conveyor belt of talent in Heerenveen who could become a stoic presence in Heerenveen’s defence this season. The Heerenveen youth academy focuses on professionalism and development and has spawned many players who are top performers in the Eredivisie today. This centre-back could be the next big thing from the much hailed academy as at only 18 years-old, he is set to battle for a first team spot after making his debut against Vitesse last season. The youngster made 2 tackles, 2 interceptions and 6 clearances per game in the 13 games he played. As, convincing as he was in defence, he also proved how good he can be on the ball as he completed 86% of his passes. He will face an uphill battle to get into Dwight Lodweges’ team though as Kenneth Otigba and Joost Van Aken both currently hold the centre-back roles. Despite his tender age, one shouldn’t overlook this youngster’s talent.

Chaka Simbeye (69 Posts)