Heerenveen managed to finish in the Europa League play-off spots for the fifth season in a row last term but could they struggle to make it a sixth after losing captain Marten de Roon and topscorer Mark Uth?

  • By Michael Statham
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heerenveen logoThe Frisians looked like they were growing into a solid outfit, finishing 7th in the Eredivisie. However as is usually the case at Heerenveen nowadays, the top goalscorer moves on, this time was the turn of German striker Mark Uth who left to play for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga. Furthermore, goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt moved to Swansea in the Premier League and Marten de Roon has signed for Atalanta in Serie A.

However the club has an outstanding array of fresh talent ready to walk into the team. A successful season could hinge on the likes of Sam Larsson, Simon Thern and Luciano Slagveer staying fit and producing their best football.

Summer Transfers

In – Canar Cavlan (De Graafschap), Lucas Bijker (Cambuur), Erwin Mulder (Feyenoord), Wieger Sietsma (Groningen), Branco van der Broomen (FC Eindhoven), Lukas Zahovic (Maribor), Mitchell Te Vrede (Feyenoord)

Out – Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Swansea City), Jens Jurn Streutker (released), Szabolcs Vargas (MTK Budapest, loan), Lerin Duarte (returned to parent club Ajax), Michael Chacon (Dordrecht), Stephen Warmolts (Helmond Sport, loan), Mark Uth (Hoffenheim), Thomas Dalgaard (Sonderjyske), Viktor Noring (Lyngby), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Albert Gudmundsson (PSV)

Caner Cavlan and Lucas Bijker will strengthen the defence and Erwin Mulder is a safe pair of hands to replace Nordfeldt as first-choice goalkeeper. 20-year-old Branco van der Broomen has played a lot of games in pre-season and is expected to cover de Roon’s departure.

Even though manager Dwight Lodeweges has stated he wants to replace Uth internally, it has been reported that Heerenveen had a loan bid rejected by PSV for want-away forward Jürgen Locadia. Watch this space.

Pre-season

A mixed bag of results. Heerenveen first beat amateurs vv Buitenpost (0-9) and VVOG (2-3). A 0-0 draw with Scottish side Motherwell preceded three matches against Eerste Divisie opponents: a 4-1 win against Volendam, a 1-0 victory over MVV and a 1-1 draw with Almere City. The Frisians rounded off pre-season by beating Baniyas from the UAE (2-0) and losing to Real Mallorca of Spain (0-1) last Saturday.

The club have used 28 players in total, with injuries causing Lodeweges to use back-up players and a lot of youth products to cover the gaps in the team.

Key Players

larsson heeSam Larsson

Swedish winger Larsson attracted interest from PSV this summer as the champions searched for a replacement for Memphis Depay. However the 22-year-old looks set to remain at Heerenveen. Larsson scored 8 goals in only 25 appearances in his first season in the Eredivisie, expect him to star for the Frisians this time around with his skill and trickery causing headaches for defences.

heeveitLuciano Slagveer

On the opposite flank is Luciano Slagveer. The 21-year old has bags of pace and good crossing ability. Last season saw Slagveer net 12 goals in the Eredivisie, adding 4 assists. Another good season should see the Heerenveen youth product on the borders of the Dutch national team.

thern heeSimon Thern

The other key creative figure in Heerenveen’s midfield is another Swede: Simon Thern. He was picked up from Malmö only last winter but has quickly settled into the side. Thern, 22, is good at dribbling with good close control and movement to take the ball away from defenders. Like Larsson, Thern was a part of the Swedish U21 squad that won the European championship this summer, a squad Thern was part of since he was 18.

Strongest Line-Up

Mulder

van Anholt – van Aken – Bijker – Cavlan

van den Boomen – van den Berg – Thern

Slagveer – Te Vrede – Larsson

Injuries have lead to some experimental team-sheets in pre-season. Heerenveen need to get players such as Luciano Slagveer and Pele van Anholt fit before the season starts in order to avoid a poor start to the campaign like this time last year.

Wieger Sietsma and Maarten de Fockert are two youth goalkeepers who will hope to push Erwin Mulder for a starting spot. Kenny Otigba, Stefano Marzo, Jerry St Juste and Doke Schmidt offer other options in defence. In midfield there are fewer alternatives; Morten Thorsby is another exciting talent in Heerenveen’s ranks and Jordy Buijs will hope to return from injury in the coming months. Up front, Tarik Kada and Younes Namli will be pushing for the wide positions and Mitchell Te Vrede can be swapped for Henk Veerman, Lukas Zahovic or Oranje U-19 international Pelle van Amersfoort.

Prediction

A full strength side could see Heerenveen scoring lots of goals. Slagveer, Larsson and Thern are key to creating chances for frontmen Veerman and van Amersfoort. The club always finds a way to finish in the European play-off spots, despite losing important players every summer. I think this could be one summer sale too far, with too much inexperience in the side. Yet it cannot be denied Heerenveen have lots of potential – given a couple of seasons the current team could grow into a top Eredivisie side – but bigger European club vultures await the star players.

Prediction: 9th




Michael Statham (412 Posts)

Writer/interviewer/YouTuber for Football-Oranje. Massive Dutch football fan from the UK. Follow me @EredivisieMike & subscribe to Football-Oranje on YouTube.