Becoming one of the hottest prospects in the Eredivise this season and earning his first Netherlands call-up, Sam May takes a look at AZ Alkmaar’s sensation, Vincent Janssen.

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jansen az fjfBeing joint top scorer in the league with Luuk De Jong on 19 goals, Janssen has already been dubbed the new “Ruud van Nistelrooy”, during comparisons with the former Manchester United striker. Strong, good in the air and a deadly finisher, the 21-year-old has all the attributes to follow in the footsteps of van Nistelrooy, and has been improving game by game in what is his first season in the Eredivisie.

Janssen started his career in the youth teams of NEC and Feyenoord and helped the latter clinch the U19 league title back in May 2013 in a 4-0 victory over current team AZ. The penalty area predator, was the standout performer in the win – claiming a hat-trick, but his form then dipped and he was released the following summer.

The young striker was rescued from obscurity by Eerste Divisie side Almere City, where he gained a name for himself by scoring an impressive 29 goals in 69 appearances over a two year period. This alerted many scouts from Germany and Belgium, who had watched the youngster, but Janssen chose AZ. The chance to develop himself in the Eredivisie was behind Janssen’s decision, and it has so far proved dividends, with the striker putting behind him a poor start to become the most lethal finisher in the league at the moment.

Since the turn of the year Jansen can’t stop scoring (13 goals in his last 10 league games) and he gained sweet revenge on Feyenoord back in January when he netted an excellent brace in a 4-2 win over his former side. A stunning solo goal against Vitesse, and the winner over amateur side HHC in the KNVB Cup quarter finals have also been highlights in what is turned into an excellent season for Janssen and AZ, who languished down in 12th at one point, but now sit fourth.

Janssen has a contract until 2019 in Alkmaar, but the clubs are already lining up to snatch him next summer, with Ajax boss Frank de Boer already stating his interest in the youngster, while PSV could also make a move if they lose Luuk de Jong. A foreign adventure is also a possibility with Janssen’s strength and poaching ability making him perfect for either the Premier League or the Bundesliga.

For now the national team beckons for Janssen, who has been handed his first Netherlands call-up for the upcoming friendlies with France and England. He has already proved himself in the Oranje U21’s with eight goals in ten games, and with Robin van Persie out of favour, and Klaas jan Huntelaar not getting any younger it could be Janssen’s time to shine and take centre stage as the Oranje look to bounce back from missing out on Euro 2016.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks and months, there is no doubt that Netherlands and AZ have an absolute gem on their hands, and fans should be excited to see where his rapid rise takes him next.

Sam May (6 Posts)