Since the appointment of Louis Van Gaal as boss of Manchester United, many Dutch players in a variety of positions have understandably been linked with a move to the Manchester club. And with the Netherlands surprising experts and pundits alike with impressive showings thus far in the World Cup, many Manchester United fans will be left licking their lips at the prospect of snapping up some of the talented young players in the Dutch squad.
Here are the top 5 Dutch players that I feel the Red Devils should target.
It is clear to see that Manchester United have been lacking an anchorman midfielder for years now. With every transfer window came new names and more false hope for fans across the country. One name that has appeared to stick however is that of Kevin Strootman. While interest appeared to fade under David Moyes, the arrival of Holland manager Louis Van Gaal has again brought fresh rumours about Strootman, something which some Red Devils fans must be sick of hearing by now.
For a 24 year old playing in a position as key as Defensive Midfield, his composure and reading of the game is virtually unrivalled. One of United’s problems of late has been their inability to control a game in midfield. In that aspect, Strootman excels. In the opposition half, his pass accuracy is an impressive 86% – higher than any Manchester United player last season. He also completed more tackles than any Manchester United midfielder, and won more aerial duels too. I have no doubt that a fully fit Kevin Strootman would be a resounding success if Manchester United did finally sign the Midfield man. If I was Van Gaal however, I would wait until January before moving in for him to allow him time to regain form, fitness and confidence after the ACL injury that kept him out of the World Cup.
Bruno Martins Indi
Bruno Martins Indi is a perfect product of the Feyenoord youth system – something which the club prides itself on greatly. The versatile Defender, who was a member of the Feyenoord Youth Academy, graduated to the first team in 2010 aged only 18, and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Martins Indi has played for his country at every level from U17s all the way up to the full team, and has since made 17 caps as a full Dutch international.
I feel Martins Indi would be a good fit at Manchester United due to his versatility in being able to play Left Back as well as Centre Back, as well as having age on his side to ‘grow into the shirt’ (still aged only 22). Standing at 6’2” and being blessed with great strength, Bruno Martins Indi would certainly not struggle with the physicality in the Premier League that so many foreign imports find tough.
As far as young Dutch talent goes, Daley Blind may be seen as a late bloomer despite still only being 24 years of age. Blind has caught the eye so far in Brazil from the Left Back position, with a pair of superb performances against Spain and Australia respectively. While he has shown defensive quality in Van Gaal’s 5-3-2 formation, he also has 3 assists to his name, including the stunning pass to Robin Van Persie that set up the striker’s header against Spain. Blind’s versatility could be another factor which Van Gaal could point to when discussing his club transfer targets. For Ajax this season, Blind played in a multitude of positions, namely Centre Midfield, Left Back and even Centre Back, and has a pass success rate of 87% in all competitions this season. While he will no doubt go up in value after the World Cup, he would still be fantastic value for money at around £15million.
Jonathan De Guzman
Manchester United have made no secret of the fact that they chased the signature of Wesley Sneijder for many months once upon a time. While Sneijder would still be a fantastic buy for United despite recently turning 30, why not look to a similar player but slightly younger in Jonathan De Guzman?
Van Gaal’s trust in his ‘Total Human’ philosophy means selecting players he trusts is paramount. If De Guzman has been a regular in this system, then surely a move to Manchester United is also very viable, with the club clearly needing fresh bodies in Midfield. De Guzman has shown in his two year loan spell at Swansea that he is adequately talented to stand out in the Premier League, therefore the risk factor of signing a foreign based player who may not perform in England is also cut out of the equation. £12million could be enough to tempt Villarreal into the sale – and what a good player any side would be getting for that cheap.
PSV’s Memphis Depay could be Holland’s next big thing. The 20 year old had a breakthrough season in the Eredivisie this season, scoring 14 goals and getting 10 assists in all competitions for his club. His rise to prominence has resulted in a host of top clubs reportedly chasing the Winger, including Tottenham, Real Madrid, Liverpool and indeed Manchester United, even before Van Gaal was brought on board. Depay came on for the Dutch for 7th international cap against Australia in Brazil, and scored a superb match winning goal from 25 yards out to make it 3-2, and in turn guarantee Netherlands progression out of the group stages a match early. As a Left Winger, his electric pace and skilled dribbling (averaging over 3 successful take ons per game) has already seen him compared to a young Cristiano Ronaldo in his native Holland. Manchester United could certainly do much worse than to snap up this star in the making.