After an awful domestic season last year, with no European football this season, can Feyenoord improve themselves or will the dark clouds stay above Rotterdam?

  • By Bas Vos
  • Follow Bas on Twitter

fey logoFeyenoord had three top-three finishes in a row with Ronald Koeman as manager, but Fred Rutten has led the team to the fourth position last season, and ultimately, after losing the play-offs for the Europa League, sixth, while the objective was: ‘competing for the championship’. Rutten lost his job after the regular season to his assistant Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who would take over after the season has ended anyway. After having a rock solid defence until winter and beating the Europa League holders Sevilla in November, everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

The objective now will be to reach European football without playing play-offs (finishing not lower than third or winning the KNVB Cup) but can they play revenge on themselves and let De Kuip shake again?

 Summer transfers

Feyenoord had some active times on the transfer market in the past few weeks, with also fresh Academy graduates. The biggest signing was sealed already long before last season ended, with Dirk Kuyt returning after a nine-year spell abroad. The team lost however the captain, Jordy Clasie, to Southampton.

Transfers in:

  • Goalkeeper Warner Hahn (PEC Zwolle, returned from loan)
  • Goalkeeper Kamil Miazek (Feyenoord Academy)
  • Defender Jan-Arie van der Heijden (free agent, last season at Vitesse)
  • Defender Stef Gronsveld (Feyenoord Academy)
  • Defender Calvin Verdonk (Feyenoord Academy)
  • Midfielder Simon Gustafson (BC Häcken)
  • Midfielder Joey Sleegers (FC Eindhoven, returned from loan)
  • Midfielder Marko Veijnović (Vitesse)
  • Midfielder Bart Nieuwkoop (Feyenoord Academy)
  • Midfielder Jari Schuurman (Feyenoord Academy)
  • Attacker Colin Kazim-Richards (Bursaspor, was already on loan last season)
  • Attacker Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahçe)
  • Eljero Elia (Werder Bremen)
  • Michiel Kramer (ADO Den Haag)

Transfers out:

  • Goalkeeper Ronald Graafland (retired)
  • Goalkeeper Kostas Lamprou (Willem II, was already on loan last season)
  • Goalkeeper Erwin Mulder (released, is now at SC Heerenveen)
  • Defender Khalid Boulahrouz (released)
  • Defender Joris Mathijsen (released)
  • Defender Matthew Steeenvoorden (released, was on loan to FC Dordrecht since last January)
  • Midfielder Jordy Clasie (Southampton)
  • Attacker Jean-Paul Boëtius (FC Basel)
  • Attacker Wesley Verhoek (released, was on loan to Go Ahead Eagles since last January)

 Strongest line-up

 Vermeer; Karsdorp, Van Beek, Van der Heijden, Kongolo; Veijnović, Toornstra, El Ahmadi; Elia, Kuyt, Kramer


Feyenoord had played seven pre-season friendlies:

  • 0-3 away win against the amateur branch of the club
  • 1-8 away win against Austrian side SV Kematen, during the training camp in Seefeld, Austria
  • 0-2 away win against Fortuna Düsseldorf, during aforementioned training camp
  • 2-1 away loss against VVV-Venlo
  • 0-3 home loss against Southampton, followed the next morning with a friendly of the reserve team against the reserve team of Southampton. Result: 1-2 loss.
  • 1-3 home loss against Olympiakos Piraeus

 Key players

kuyt gDirk Kuyt

With Jordy Clasie gone, Kuyt is now the captain of Feyenoord. He already showed himself as a leader on the pitch, and despite his age (35), when he can play like the Kuyt at Fenerbaçhe and at the World Cup in Brazil last year, he will surely be the top man to watch this season. He scored eight league goals in 32 league matches and two cup goals in two matches. Ten years ago, Kuyt just finished a season at Feyenoord with 44 matches (34 league, 3 cup and 7 UEFA Cup), scoring 36 goals (29 league, 4 cup and 3 UEFA Cup). If he can play a huge role in the team again, Feyenoord will surely profit from it.

vermeer feyKenneth Vermeer

Vermeer did the almost unthinkable last season when he moved to Feyenoord from bitter rivals Ajax, but the goalkeeper quickly warmed himself to the De Kuip crowd with some excellent performances. He will face stiff competition this season from young goalkeeping star Warner Hahn, but 29-year-old should show once again this season that he is still one of the best shot stoppers in the Eredivisie.

 Youngsters to watch

kongofeymaTerence Kongolo

Kongolo has been a key part of the Feyenoord first team for the last few seasons with his versatility along the backline making him a valuable asset to the Rotterdam club. Now 21, Kongolo will look for another season of development under the watchful eye of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Manchester City and Chelsea. One of the brightest defensive talents in the country.

schuurman Jari Schuurman

Frequent visitors of this website might be used to seeing Jari Schuurman’s name in the top youngster’s to watch lists, and the midfielder now joins the first team full time this season, despite still being eligible for the U19. One of the biggest talents of Feyenoord, and in the Academy since he is a little kid, he already showed himself at the U19 and the reserve team last season. He has yet to reach an official match squad, but if the man from Gorinchem continues his hard work, it won’t be that far away.


When Giovanni van Bronckhorst is capable of forming a team with this squad, there is surely quality. However, the question is how long that will take. My prediction is that Feyenoord can play a part in the top three positions, but that’s it: the gap with PSV and Ajax, especially when it comes to finance, is too big. 3rd.

Bas Vos (12 Posts)