The dust has now settled from another manic transfer window across Europe. It concluded with AZ’s Markus Henriksen making a late switch to Hull City. So, what can Hull fans expect to see from the Norwegian midfielder?

  • By Michael Statham
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As anticipated, the 24-year-old became the latest ripe fruit to be picked from the Eredivisie tree this summer. What was perhaps a little more unforeseen was the club he signed for, seeing as interest from European eagles such as Napoli and Anderlecht failed to produce a move and now Henriksen will ply his trade for the tigers of Hull City.

Henriksen got his wish and signed for a club playing in one of the top four European leagues. Initially on loan, the deal will become permanent in January for an estimated €6 million.

Last season, the attacking midfielder linked up well with new Tottenham Hotspur signing Vincent Janssen. Both players are arguably of a similar quality, as the two were key in guiding AZ to a fourth place finish in the Eredivisie. Although whilst Janssen is a man of potential (hence the higher transfer fee), his former teammate is a player currently at the top of his game.

Development

The 24-year-old has not always played the same way over the last four years. A €2 million arrival from Rosenborg, Henriksen carried the burden of expectation from his homeland as the freshest, exciting, teenage talent. He had won the Tippeligaen twice and was beginning to be recognised as a top young player across Europe.

Originally a more offensive midfielder, he was almost forced to become a deep-lying playmaker in his first games with AZ. It stifled the youngster at the time, as he was being played out of position and was relied upon for his defensive duties in front of the back four, something which had already been tried without success at Rosenborg.

It was only after two and a half years into his stay with the Alkmaarers that newly arrived manager John van den Brom began to deploy Henriksen as an attacking midfielder, who had licence to burst into the box. It helped the then 22-year-old to begin realising his potential, as one of his ulterior strengths comes in his potency inside the opposition box. Four goals in three games later, and the Norwegian seemed a changed player.

Van den Brom was a key factor in developing Henriksen into a determined vice-captain with a strong physique, adding to his existing football intelligence and ball skills.

Last season was when Henriksen really starred for AZ. He scored no less than 19 goals in 41 games. In total, he has made 146 appearances for the side, netting 33 goals and notching 19 assists. What’s more, the 24-year-old has lifted the Dutch Cup and has almost 30 caps for Norway.

Can he shine for Hull in the Premier League?

henriksen az

Some football fans in England often question whether players from the Dutch league can be effective in the Premier League. However, Henriksen has the physical capabilities to deal with his new surroundings and the midfielder has often impressed in the Europa League too, having helped AZ reach the quarter finals twice in his four-year stay.

He will inject much needed firepower into the side by playing behind an Abel Hernandez or a Dieumerci Mbokani. Hull are missing an attacking midfielder so Henriksen shouldn’t ever be shifted out wide or be expected to fill in as a more defensive midfielder.

The Eredivisie has established Henriksen as a tenacious leader with an exceptional work-rate and decent anticipation, creativity and finishing. After finishing both third and fourth in the Netherlands in his two most recent, finer seasons for AZ, he finally looks ready to try his hand in a more competitive league. His strength is suited to the division and his quality is undoubted. Let’s see how he gets on in a side that are expected to struggle this season and be on the back foot in many matches throughout the campaign.




Michael Statham (518 Posts)

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