As a teenager, Dabney dos Santos was considered one of AZ’s biggest talents to emanate from their academy. This season the pressure is on the 21-year-old to step up his level and become a key player.

  • By Michael Statham
  • Follow Michael on Twitter @EredivisieMike


Dos Santos burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old and quickly became a starter for Alkmaar. 17 appearances brought two goals and seven assists in an outstanding breakout season.

It got better for Dabney in 2015/16, when eight assists and five goals – including a strike in the Europa League, made him a starter for John van den Brom and a regular provider of skills and excitement from midfield.

Last season though, the AZ manager struggled to gain consistency from his team and one of his criticisms was his avid rotation of his wingers. Occasionally, both wide players would be switched at half-time. This didn’t help dos Santos’s confidence and one time he threw a total off game in the Europa League, when nothing at all seemed to go his way.

Four goals and six assists in the last campaign shouldn’t be considered poor, but dos Santos will be disappointed he couldn’t kick on to become a key cog for AZ at a time he was needed most.

Style of Play

Dos Santos offers a variety of midfield options – playing in the 8 role on his debut but nowadays is used less in the centre and more on the wings. Out wide, Dabney can exploit his pace and dribbling to beat opponents.

The attacking midfielder offers plenty of impetus for the AZ attack and even a deadly strike on goal. However, he is best when reaching the touchline to run past opposition or to squeeze in a cross for incoming strikers.

What to expect from dos Santos this season

The pressure is on Dabney to reproduce his exciting form of 15-16. More goals should be expected in a more fluent AZ side this season and hopefully more international appearances, at least for the Dutch under 21s, should follow.

Michael Statham (807 Posts)

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