Will Hakim Ziyech shine like Jaap Stam or flop like Memphis Depay?

The good, the bad and the ugly: Hakim Ziyech is latest Eredivisie star to seal a Premier League switch… but will Chelsea’s new man shine like Jaap Stam or flop like Memphis Depay?

  • Hakim Ziyech has sealed a £37million move to Chelsea in the summer window
  • Big things are expected of him in the Premier League after shining with Ajax
  • The Premier League has enjoyed some gems from the Eredivisie down the years
  • However, some have failed to make the cut after showing promise early on 

Hakim Ziyech’s £37million summer move to Chelsea has already sparked a lot of excitement in west London, but the attacking midfielder is far from the first player to make the switch from the Eredivisie to the Premier League.

In fact, there have been plenty in the past… from the greats like Luis Suarez and Jaap Stam to some more underwhelming names like Afonso Alves.  

There is plenty of debate over whether signings from Holland are too big a risk… so here, Sportsmail takes a look back at the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Hakim Ziyech will join Chelsea in the summer in a £37million deal from Eredivisie giants Ajax

Luis Suarez 

Where better to start than with a player who is still firing at the very top level today? Suarez joined Liverpool from Ajax in 2011 for a bargain £22.8m, but his transfer was shrouded in controversy following his bite of PSV’s Otman Bakkal. He had even been labelled the ‘Hannibal of Ajax’ by the Dutch press. 

Despite that, he went on to super-stardom at Anfield, netting 82 goals in 133 games for the Reds in a period where they lagged behind the big names in English football. He moved to Barcelona for £65m in 2014 and is still flying high now.  

Luis Suarez tormented defences during his time at Liverpool – netting 82 times in 133 games

Jaap Stam 

The Dutch defender became the most expensive player in his country’s history when he signed for Manchester United in 1998, setting the Old Trafford giants back £10.6m. He was worth every penny though, going on to become a club legend over the course of the next three years.

He formed part of the spine of United’s team under Sir Alex Ferguson as they won three straight Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the Champions League. He left for Lazio in 2001 but his Manchester United legacy was well and truly set in stone.

Jaap Stam won the Champions League, three straight Premier League titles and the FA Cup

Ruud van Nistelrooy

Staying at Old Trafford, van Nistelrooy arrived as Stam was leaving to continue the Dutch trend. He cost £19million and arrived off the back of a spectacular spell at PSV Eindhoven, where he’d scored 77 goals in 90 matches.

He spent five seasons at United, winning the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in his first year and then finishing as the Premier League’s top scorer in the second. He won the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup and then earned himself a move to Real Madrid in 2006.

Ruud van Nistelrooy won the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup at Manchester United

Marc Overmars

Currently director of football at Ajax, Overmars is working almost as much magic off the pitch as he created on it. The Dutch legend moved to Arsenal from Ajax in 1997, having actually endured a pretty difficult final season in his home country.

That said, hopes were high for the then 24-year-old and he certainly shone in north London. Arsene Wenger was then in his second season and claimed Overmars would be the man to bring ‘expansive football’ to his team after the struggles of his first year in England. The winger went on to help the Gunners win the Premier League and FA Cup in his first season, and he left for Barcelona after three successful years.

Marc Overmars helped Arsenal win the Premier League and the FA Cup in his first season

Robin van Persie 

The player on our list who spent the most time on these shores was certainly Robin van Persie, following his 11-year spell between Arsenal and Manchester United. It was, of course, full of controversy at times. He spent eight seasons at Arsenal and three at United, burning plenty of bridges during the latter.

He is remembered both for his incredible goalscoring ability – 132 for Arsenal and 58 for United – and also for celebrating wildly after netting against his old club. He was labelled a ‘judas’ by Arsenal fans after leaving them, before helping his new side win the Premier League title in his first season at Old Trafford, something he couldn’t manage in eight at Arsenal. He left United for Fenerbahce in 2015.

Robin van Persie is remembered for his incredible goalscoring ability at Arsenal and United

Arjen Robben

Another Dutchman who brought a winning mentality to England was Arjen Robben, enjoying a hugely successful, trophy-laden spell at Chelsea. He arrived from PSV having just won the Eredivisie and instantly helped the Blues secure back-to-back Premier League titles.

Under Jose Mourinho, he turned into a world-beater, and after leaving Chelsea for £24m, went on to win nine more league titles at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, before retiring last year. 

Arjen Robben turned into a world-beater under manager Jose Mourinho while at Chelsea

Christian Eriksen

One of the most recent exports from the Eredivisie to the Premier League is Christian Eriksen, a Tottenham star who has just moved to Inter Milan to bring a successful seven-year spell to an end. Although it ended on a sour note, the Danish playmaker will certainly be held in high regard by the Spurs fans when the dust has settled.

The  28-year-old played 305 matches for Tottenham, starting at White Hart Lane and ending at the new-look Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and was the lynchpin of their side for many years. He didn’t win any trophies but made the PFA Team of the Year in 2017-18 and was twice the club’s Player of the Year.

Christian Eriksen will be held in high regard at Tottenham despite his transfer to Inter Milan

Bad

Memphis Depay

After United fended off fierce interest from PSG to sign Depay in a £25m deal in 2015, there was plenty of hype that they had finally found a winger that could help restore the glory days. At 20, he had been to a World Cup. At 21, he was a Dutch league champion and top scorer, winner of the Johan Cruyff Trophy for Holland’s finest young talent and voted by France Football as the best young player in the world.

However, at 22 his days were numbered at United with his form being awful and his attitude even worse. In 53 appearances for the club, the Dutchman scored just seven times and provided six assists, before eventually being sold to Lyon just two years later. And much to the frustration of United fans, he is now flourishing in France.  

Memphis Depay had a miserable time at Man United after big things were expected of him

Jon Dahl Tomasson 

The Danish international arrived at St James’ Park in the summer of 1997 following a successful three-year spell in the Netherlands with Heerenveen and he was viewed by manager Kenny Dalglish as the perfect link-up player to England striker Alan Shearer.

However, a career-threatening injury to Shearer meant that Tomasson moved from his traditional attacking midfield position to that of a striker, where he unfortunately failed to adapt. He ended up only staying for one season on Tyneside, netting just three times before returning to the Eredivisie with Feyenoord. He would go on to enjoy a stellar career for both club and country. 

Jon Dahl Tomasson netted just three times for Newcastle in just one season at the club

Marcus Allback

Big things were expected of Swedish forward Allback when he moved to Aston Villa back in 2002 from Heerenveen. The striker held an impressive goal record to date and when the £2m transfer was sealed, Villa supporters thought they had found a bargain.

However, Allback never managed to topple first-choice forwards Darius Vassell and Juan Pablo Angel and was limited to substitute appearances in the last 20 minutes of matches. He would end up scoring just six goals in 35 games before being offloaded to German minnows Hansa Rostock in 2004.

Marcus Allback scored just six times in 35 games for Aston Villa after failing to make an impact

Ugly

Luc Nilis

Nilis was an outstanding striker for Eredivisie outfit PSV and was loved by Brazilian icon Ronaldo and Ruud Van Nistelrooy, but for Villa he turned out to be a case of ‘what if’. The striker joined on a Bosman in July 2000 and started off in style, scoring on his debut in both the UEFA Intertoto Cup and Premier League against Chelsea. 

But that was as good as it got for Nilis – nicknamed ‘Lucky Luc’ thanks to his ability to pop up in the right places at the right time – as in only his third Premier League game, he collided with Ipswich goalkeeper Richard Wright and sustained a horrific leg injury. It left him with a right calf broken in two places, a season-ending double compound fracture. There was unfortunately no way back for the veteran and at one stage he contracted a bone infection, which led to fears of a possible amputation.

A horrific leg injury against Ipswich in 2000 unfortunately ended Luc Nilis’ Aston Villa career

Afonso Alves

It is a long time ago now but there was one stage where Alves was regarded as one of Europe’s hottest attacking properties after netting 34 goals in just 31 games during his his first season with Dutch side Heerenveen. The Brazilian continued that rich vein of form the next campaign, scoring 11 goals in eight matches.

Alves had been linked with some of Europe’s top clubs and it was something of a surprise when Middlesbrough snapped him up in January 2008. After a slow start to life in England, with injury keeping him out until February, he didn’t find the net until April. He enjoyed a late season flurry, which led to him scoring six goals in 11 games. The next season, he recorded just four league goals as Boro were relegated from the Premier League before he would sign for Qatar outfit Al-Sadd in 2009.

Afonso Alves flopped at Middlesbrough as they got relegated to the Championship in 2009

Siem de Jong

Newcastle’s capture of De Jong for just £6m in the summer of 2014 on a six-year contract seemed like a coup at the time – with it being expected that he would provide goals and guile for manager Alan Pardew, who would name him as vice-captain. 

However, injuries would massively curtail his career at St James’ Park. Within a few weeks of arriving, De Jong sustained a thigh injury that would rule him out for several months and that was the start of a nightmare time on Tyneside for him. He then suffered a collapsed lung that saw him miss another eight weeks before a freak eye accident followed as one of his contact lenses was pushed into his eye, threatening his sight. He would make just 22 appearances in three years for Newcastle.

Injuries, including a collapsed lung, unfortunately ruined Siem de Jong’s Newcastle career




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