Following the end of the January transfer window, Nicholas Koopman takes a look back at a busy month of transfers as teams in the Eredivisie looked to strengthen their squads for the run in.

In one of the busiest transfer windows of recent time, Dutch clubs were active right up to the deadline with a number of high-profile transfers, with a number of new records being set in the process.

In total, 151 players moved clubs in the Netherlands, a new record beating the previous record of 142 set in 2009. The first player to move was Wout Brama, who moved from PEC Zwolle to FC Utrecht, on 3rd January. The final deal of the window, was a very late acquisition, when Jari Oosterwijk moved from FC Twente to NAC Breda at 23:59 on 31st January, one minute before the window slammed shut.

Below we take a look at some of the highlights:

Wheeler dealers:

Ajax – Once again, as with the summer transfer window, Ajax were the busy with high profile departures and signings as they look to overhaul Feyenoord at the top of the table.

Riechedly Bazoer (Vfl Wolfsburg, Ger), Nemanja Gudelj (Tianjin Teda, Chn), Anwar El Ghazi (OSC Lille), Mitchell Dijks (Norwich City, Loan, Eng) and Tim Krul (AZ) were among the big names to leave for pastures new.

Ajax then spent big on David Neres (São Paulo, Bra), a €12 million deal, which broke the existing Eredivisie record of €11.3 million (Mateja Kezman to PSV) for the most expensive signing from abroad. A move that cements their title ambitions this season, after recent departures.

In addition, they also added a number of promising youngsters including Antonio Trograncic (Bayern Munich, Ger), Szabolcs Schön (Budapest Honvéd Kft, HUN), Olivér Horváth (MTK Budapest Zrt, Hun) and Mateusz Gorski (FC Wroclaw Academy, Pol).

Astute signing:

Marco van Ginkel – Chelsea to PSV (Loan):

The 24-year-old Dutch midfielder was instrumental in PSV’s title-winning campaign last year and he re-joined the Eindhoven club again this January, PSV will be hoping for more of the same from Van Ginkel. The player scored eight times in 16 appearances in his last spell with the club.

Van Ginkel has already scored twice in three appearances, since his return, and PSV look a stronger side with him in the ranks. Whether it is enough for them to overhaul Feyenoord and Ajax remains to be seen, but they have a much better chance with Van Ginkel in the side.

The loan deal with Chelsea means no fee was required to acquire the player, a deal which suits both clubs and the player. This signing must go down as the most astute this transfer window.

Star Transfer:

David Neres – Sao Paulo to Ajax

“He is one of the biggest talents in South America.” That’s what Ajax’s football director, Marc Overmars said about David Neres. Ajax will certainly hope it is true, the potential partnership between him and Hakim Ziyech could be one of the most lethal in the Eredivisie. It is certainly going to be interesting and exciting to watch Neres in action, as they try to overhaul the five-point deficit to Feyenoord.

Neres has scored three times in eight appearances for Sao Paulo in 2016 and moves to Ajax for €12 million signing a four and a half year contract. Whether Neres can live up to the expectation and transfer fee remains to be seen in the coming months and years at Ajax.

Surprising transfer:

Martin Odegaard – Real Madrid to Heerenveen

When Martin Odegaard signed for Real Madrid in January 2015, he had the footballing world at his feet. Courted by a number of top European clubs, including Ajax, it is somewhat surprising to see Odegaard arrive at Heerenveen this January.

Though unable to force himself into the Madrid first team, a loan move to another league such as the Bundesliga, Premier League or Seria A always looked likely given the amount of interest, but this failed to materialise despite strong initial interest. Therefore, Odegaard chose to join the Eredivisie in search of first team football.

However, the Dutch league has a reputation for developing young talent and Real Madrid will be hoping that the two-year loan deal helps Odegaard fulfill his potential. Heerenveen will welcome the additional player to bolster their squad to compete for a European place next season.

Odegaard undoubtedly has the potential to develop into one of the best midfielders in Europe, he and Heerenveen will be hoping he shows this during his time in the Netherlands.

Potential flop:

Tim Krul – Ajax to AZ (via Newcastle loan)

When Tim Krul joined Ajax this summer he was supposed to be the first choice to replace Jasper Cillessen. Fast forward to January, Krul now finds himself on the move again to AZ Alkmaar having never managed to start a first team game for Ajax due to injury and the form of Andre Onana.

The transfer is a gamble for both AZ and Krul, AZ will be hoping that Krul can discover his best form and help AZ leapfrog Heerenveen into fourth position. Krul will be desperate to put himself in the shop window with his spell at Newcastle United seemingly over.

However, with such a long spell away from first team action, it remains to be seen if Krul can recover his best form going into the second half of the Eredivisie.

Quietest team:

Feyenoord –The Rotterdam club headed into the transfer window leading the pack in the Eredivisie, with a five point gap over their nearest rivals Ajax. Giovanni van Bronkhorst was quick to point out that he was happy with the squad at his disposal and he would be making no signings this winter.

So it has proved, Feyenoord only business in January was to left fringe players such Warner Hahn (Excelsior) and Faris Hammouti (Almere City) leave on loan. Despite doubts over their defensive frailties, nobody was signed to help the club to their first title since 1999.

Whether this will prove costly, with both Ajax and PSV strengthening their squads, remains to be seen during the run in.

Nicholas Koopman (93 Posts)