The summer transfer window is now in full swing, but which of the Eredivisie’s traditional top three have done the best business so far? Is it enough to challenge this season?

  • By Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike

Feyenoord

Out: Dirk Kuyt (retired), Eljero Elia (Istanbul Basaksehir), Rick Karsdorp (Roma), Terence Kongolo (AS Monaco), Steven Berghuis (loan ended)

In: Jean-Paul Boetius (Basel), Sofyan Amrabat (Utrecht), Kevin Diks (Fiorentina, loan)

Feyenoord’s defence of the crown may depend on how energy sapping a Champions League campaign may be on their relatively small squad. So far, key players Kuyt, Karsdorp and Kongolo have departed as well as Elia and Berghuis – their firepower from the wings.

In terms of new players, business isn’t far from complete. Diks will fight with Bart Nieuwkoop for the right-back slot and Amrabat is an excellent addition for the midfield engine.

On the other hand, question marks are still being raised over the transfer of Boetius, given that the potential from the winger’s first season with Feyenoord hasn’t been built upon. Spells in Switzerland and Belgium have never surpassed lukewarm, but fans will be pleased to welcome back one of their own for an exciting season ahead.

Feyenoord appear to have most areas covered ahead of a busy campaign. There are two high level goalkeepers, a stable midfield and lots of goals in attack.

However, fans are awaiting the permanent signing of Berghuis from Watford and a quality left-back is missing now that Kongolo has joined Monaco.

The only apparent concern to Feyenoord’s defence would be the lack of pace and replacements for aging Jan-Arie van der Heijden and Eric Botteghin. Long-term absentee Sven van Beek may help ease worries.

The business thus far though has been clever – all three incomings are Feyenoord fans. Passion is vital to the club as they chase more success on three fronts.

Ajax

Out: Davy Klaassen (Everton), Diederik Boer (PEC Zwolle), Heiko Westermann (Austria Wien), Thulani Serero (Vitesse), Bertrand Traoré (loan ended), Kenny Tete (Lyon)

In: Benjamin van Leer (Roda JC), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke)

Ajax are blessed with talent from their youth ranks to help replace the outgoing Klaassen and Traoré. Youngsters Frenkie de Jong, Donny van de Beek and Justin Kluivert are expected to make the step up to the starting XI.

Huntelaar has arrived as competition for Kasper Dolberg up front, in what could be another long season in the Europa League (or Champions League).

The vast majority of the Ajax fold looks set to remain intact following an emotional run to a first European final since 1995. If new boss Marcel Keizer can continue the fantastic work of Peter Bosz, it could be a smooth transition for Ajax into the new season.

Compared to Feyenoord and PSV, Ajax have had a relatively quiet summer, barring the numerous young players accumulated this month (not included in our summary above).

The biggest controversy from the Amsterdammers this summer is the outgoing transfer of talented Tete to French side Lyon, meaning new captain Joel Veltman continues to hold down the right-back berth – against the wish of many Ajax supporters.

Despite Nick Viergever and Daley Sinkgraven’s best efforts, a recognised left-back is still required. A new winger or defensive midfielder wouldn’t go amiss, but activity has gone a little quiet in Amsterdam. That said, don’t forget the deadline day acquisition of Hakim Ziyech last year…

PSV

Out: Andrés Guardado (Real Betis), Hector Moreno (Roma), Hidde Jurjus (Roda JC, loan), Remko Pasveer (Vitesse), Marco van Ginkel (loan ended), Oleksandr Zinchenko (loan ended), Siem de Jong (loan ended)

In: Derrick Luckassen (AZ), Hirving Lozano (Pachuca)

After back-to-back titles, PSV are now recovering following disappointment last season and a subsequent summer sale of their biggest names.

The squad needs a refresh, and players such as Santiago Arias, Jetro Willems and Adam Maher are also anticipated leavers.

If the likes of Jeroen Zoet, Gastón Pereiro and Luuk de Jong have their heads turned too, PSV would be looking at over half of the squad potentially departing.

So what’s happening the other way? Derrick Luckassen and Hirving Lozano will certainly strengthen the starting XI, Chelsea’s van Ginkel is expected to join permanently soon and prospects such as Sam Lammers and Pablo Rosario may get their chances throughout the year – possibly in the Europa League.

In truth, the side from Eindhoven shouldn’t expect a complete squad reset, but the more experienced Zoet, Isimat-Mirin, Propper and Locadia could forge a new spine for the club.

The total number of additions strongly depends on outgoings. Realistically, at least one more full-back should arrive plus another midfielder.

 

A period of change for PSV could see them miss their chance to win the league, especially if new players arrive late in pre-season.

Any outside challengers?

With Feyenoord, Ajax and PSV all enduring respective change-overs in playing and coaching staff, attention may turn to one of the chasing pack to mount a title bid. The Eredivisie’s ‘traditional’ top three are still more affluent in riches, but in the past ten years we have seen surprises such as AZ (2009) and Twente (2010) take the crown.

The only realistic outsiders this time would be Utrecht, Vitesse or AZ. However, Utrecht have also seen a high turnover in players this summer (similar to last year where they suffered a tough start to the campaign), Vitesse may be too busy with Europa League action and despite AZ’s squad possessing some fine talent, there is still unsettling speculation over the ability of coach John van den Brom.

It would appear to be another season of the top three pulling way from the rest. The winner in recent seasons has been remarkably well coached and scoring freely. So, who’s your money on?




Michael Statham (393 Posts)

I'm a physics student from the UK and a massive Eredivisie fan. Started watching after being inspired by the Netherlands national team after the 2010 World Cup. Wilfred Bouma also has a big part to play in my initial keen interest in the league, being a Villa fan meant I wanted to keep track of my favourite player.