Can Man Utd's Memphis Depay emulate great Eredivisie imports to Premier League?
By Tom McKeown
Last Updated: 17/07/15 4:46pm
This summer has seen Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordy Clasie make the switch from the Eredivisie to the Premier League.
Over the years, we’ve seen a hatful of imports from the Dutch top flight, with some enjoying incredible success – while others have struggled to make an impact.
Can Depay, Wijnaldum and Clasie set the Premier League alight? We look at some of the other Eredivisie imports who have enjoyed success in England…
Marc Overmars – Ajax to Arsenal
As Arsene Wenger continued to build his Arsenal squad with a plethora of European talent, Overmars started his first season in 1997/98 in superb form, but drew criticism as he suffered a dip in performances and the Gunners slid down to fifth.
He improved massively towards the end of the campaign, however, and scored a key goal in the title race as Arsenal beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford. He then netted twice as they sealed the title against Everton, before scoring in the FA Cup final to help the Gunners win the double.
Luis Suarez – Ajax to Liverpool
Suarez’s incredible scoring record at Ajax meant the Premier League soon came knocking, as Liverpool paid £22.8m for his services on deadline day in January 2011. After coming off the bench to score in front of the Kop in his debut against Stoke, the Uruguayan went on to show he is one of the most natural talents the Premier League has had.
His goals in the 2013/14 campaign – 31 of them in the Premier League – fired Liverpool to a second-placed finish as they came agonisingly close to their first title in 24 years.
The fall-out from the Giorgio Chiellini biting incident at the World Cup proved fatal for his Liverpool career, but the Reds still managed to command a staggering £75m fee from Barcelona, where he ended his first season with a superb 25 goals and 20 assists in all competitions.
Christian Eriksen – Ajax to Tottenham
The summer of 2013 saw Andre Villas-Boas spend big at Tottenham. £11m of that went on a 21-year-old Eriksen, who scored 25 goals and registered 41 assists in his 113 Eredivisie appearances for Ajax. He set up a goal for Gylfi Sigurdsson on his debut against Norwich, and soon became a popular figure at White Hart Lane as he injected some real flair and creativity into the Spurs midfield.
Last season saw him garner a reputation for late goals as he went on to score 10 in the Premier League, and he also registered a vital double against Sheffield United in the Capital One Cup – a stunning free-kick and a late strike – to send Mauricio Pochettino’s men into the final.
Jan Vertonghen – Ajax to Tottenham
After a superb season as captain at Ajax, when he was named the 2011/12 player of the year in the Eredivisie, Vertonghen’s Tottenham career began rather frustratingly as he grew annoyed with being deployed too often at left-back rather than his preferred position of centre-back.
However, his displays in the 2012/13 campaign warranted a place in the PFA team of the year and he has become one of Spurs’ most consistent performers as Pochettino now regularly uses him in both positions.
Robin van Persie – Feyenoord to Arsenal
The £2.75m signing of a 20-year-old from Feyenoord in 2004 once again showed Arsene Wenger’s eye for potential. Brought in as Dennis Bergkamp’s natural successor, Van Persie soon turned into a lethal forward, with 10 goals in his first season showing what Gunners fans had in store for the future.
Although he too often struggled with injury, he still went on to score 132 goals in 278 appearances for the club before his £24m move to Manchester United. He enjoyed a stunning first season at Old Trafford, firing 30 goals in all competitions as United won the 2012/13 title. He struggled to find his way into Louis van Gaal’s plans in 2014/15, however, and is on his way to Turkish side Fenerbahce.
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Graziano Pelle – Feyenoord to Southampton
New Saints boss Ronald Koeman was clearly keen to bring Pelle to St Mary’s with him from Feyenoord ahead of last season – after all, the Italian had scored 55 goals in just 66 appearances for the Dutch side.
His goals-per-game ratio continued to be impressive as he scored eight times in his first 12 games for Southampton, who ended up finishing seventh in the Premier League and securing Europa League football next season.
Arjen Robben – PSV Eindhoven to Chelsea
Little was known about Robben in England when he moved to Stamford Bridge for £12m in 2004, and an injury in pre-season meant his debut was delayed by several months. After finally getting into the action at the end of October, he went on to win the award for Premier League player of the month for November and quickly established himself as a key part of the Jose Mourinho revolution at Chelsea.
He formed a lethal front three with Damien Duff and Didier Drogba and helped the Blues win back-to-back titles before moving on to Real Madrid and then Bayern Munich, where he has taken his goals tally to another level in the last couple of seasons.
Ruud van Nistelrooy – PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United
Arguably one of the greatest Dutch imports, Van Nistelrooy tore Premier League defences apart with alarming regularity while at Manchester United. He made an instant impact, scoring on his debut in the 2001 Charity Shield, although that couldn’t prevent a defeat to Liverpool in Cardiff.
The Dutchman went on to score 36 goals in his first season at Old Trafford on his way to an incredible 150 strikes in just 219 appearances, before he moved to Real Madrid in 2006.
Jaap Stam – PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United
Manchester United forked out a record fee for a defender when they signed Stam for £10.6m in 1998 – a price which would also make him the most expensive Dutch footballer in history. Not only was he an imposing figure, Stam was surprisingly quick and also showed real ability with the ball at his feet.
Although one of many great players in the squad that season, it cannot be a complete coincidence that, in his first year at the club, Manchester United went on to have their most successful season ever, completing a stunning treble.
Wilfried Bony – Vitesse Arnhem to Swansea
When Michael Laudrup brought Bony to the Liberty Stadium in the summer of 2013, it was questionable whether he would be able to force his way into the team after Michu’s incredible tally of 22 goals in the previous season. But four goals in his first four appearances showed he would not be a playing a bit-part role for the Swans.
He went on to score 25 goals in all competitions in a superb debut season, and soon tempted Manchester City to fork out £28m for his services. He hasn’t set the world alight at the Etihad Stadium just yet, with just two goals in 12 appearances at the end of the last campaign, but he will be desperate to make more of an impact next season.