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.
Jack Wilshere’s injury shows why Arsenal shouldn’t renew his contract
The 26-year-old has been struck down by yet another injury.
Jack Wilshere will be pleased with the progress that he has made since returning to Arsenal from his loan spell at Bournemouth.
He was initially nothing more than a squad player that was out in the cold at international level too, but the midfielder worked hard to gain more game-time in North London.
Across all competitions, he has played more than 30 matches and his form earned him a call-up to the England squad.
It looked like he was getting a once-promising career back on track, but almost like clockwork, he has suffered an injury to set him back once again.
Gareth Southgate confirmed that he wouldn’t be travelling to the Netherlands for Friday’s match and the quotes were reported by Sky Sports.
“It is not a specific injury and over time they flare up and they need to settle down over a couple of days.
“We are hopeful it will settle down pretty quickly. It’s an ongoing problem and it’s not something new for him. He’s very disappointed not to be involved in the game.
“He’s trained well though but if you think about the journey he’s had in the last two years and his big injuries then he’s progressing really well.”
Although it is encouraging that it isn’t a serious injury, it is a reminder that Jack Wilshere remains a risk for both club and country.
It is difficult to build a team around a player that is susceptible to miss matches and the quote from Southgate is a worry as he refers to an ongoing problem.
Arsenal have had a difficult campaign and they will be planning a rebuild over the next 48 months as they transition away from the Arsene Wenger era.
They will have to make tough decisions on many players at the club and Wilshere’s future will be brought into focus over the next few weeks as his contract expires at the end of the season.
There have been numerous reports regarding contract talks between the two parties and there is hesitancy on both sides.
This latest injury suffered by Wilshere and the comments from Southgate referring to an ongoing problem show why it is Arsenal who need to end this association.
Wilshere can’t be relied on to stay fit and to feature prominently in a busy schedule. Arsenal will have ambitions of challenging at the very top of the game and will likely be involved in European competition every season. They need to have a squad of players that are reliable and the 26-year-old isn’t that.
Aside from that, Wilshere represents what Arsenal have become over the last decade. He is a player that had a lot of potential, but he has failed to fulfil it and been very inconsistent at the highest level. Of course, he isn’t to blame for the club’s problems, but he is also unlikely to offer the solutions.
This season has been a nice farewell campaign for him. It would have been sad if his Gunners’ career had ended after being shipped out on loan to Bournemouth.
He has returned to earn some of his credibility back, but the club need to move on and progress if they are to get back to the top of the English game.
A lot of contentious decisions will need to be made and the first should be the release of Jack Wilshere this summer.
Why Jose Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw has crossed the line
The Portuguese manager has been highly critical of Luke Shaw this season.
The fractious relationship between Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw plumbed new depths when the left-back was substituted at half-time in Manchester United’s FA Cup victory over Brighton & Hove Albion. The 22-year-old had been handed a rare opportunity to impress at Old Trafford but lasted only 45 minutes.
Speaking about Shaw in his post-match interview, Mourinho said: “Luke, in the first half, every time they came in his corridor, the cross came in and a dangerous situation was coming. I was not happy with his performance.”
The differences between the pair now appear to be irreconcilable. Shaw, who was signed by Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2014, has been used sparingly by Mourinho. The former Southampton starlet has made just 18 Premier League appearances under the Portuguese in a career that has been blighted by injuries.
Being substituted at half-time is almost as embarrassing as it gets for a player and Shaw’s mood will not have improved after being publicly criticised by his manager. It’s certainly not the first time Mourinho has chosen to talk candidly to the media about his concerns with the 22-year-old.
Some players require an arm around the shoulder to perform at their peak, while for others it takes a kick up the backside. Mourinho, opting for the latter, does nothing without reason and has clearly tried to spark a reaction from Shaw, without success.
From being one of English football’s brightest prospects after making his World Cup debut aged just 18, Shaw, who has seven England caps to his name, is in danger of not fulfilling the potential that convinced United to spend what was then a world-record fee for a teenager.
Mourinho’s tactic of singling out individuals who have not met his standards is in stark contrast to Sir Alex Ferguson, who never blamed his players in public. It has divided opinion among pundits, with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier claiming the United manager is ‘destroying’ Shaw.
Mourinho is an expert at using smokescreens to distract from his side’s unconvincing performances. And this latest controversy has moved the narrative on from United’s shock Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla.
Tough love is one thing, but the sustained, public attack on Shaw is unacceptable. If Mourinho genuinely believes he is not good enough to represent United, then fair enough. But to continually vilify the youngster’s performances is a step too far and one that could irreparably damage Shaw’s confidence.
This is not to say that Shaw is a completely innocent bystander. Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, also questioned his desire and general conditioning when he joined United four years ago. Indeed, the Dutchman signed Shaw up to a tailored exercise regime in an effort to improve his fitness.
But while van Gaal’s treatment had the desired effect, Mourinho’s has done the opposite. Being publicly humiliated on a routine basis does neither party any favours.
In all likelihood, Shaw’s disappointing United career will come to an end this summer. A fresh start away from the toxicity under Mourinho is exactly what he needs.
Keanan Bennetts has perfect opportunity to impress Mauricio Pochettino this week
The left-sided star has a chance to impress in first-team training during the international break.
With the international week in full flow, plenty of teams in the Premier League have seen their squads diminished by call-ups to national teams.
Tottenham Hotspur are one such side. Nonetheless, with most of the first-team squad away with their respective nations, work continues at Hotspur Way.
In order for Spurs to have a full complement in training, plenty of young talent needs to be pulled in to the ranks.
Mauricio Pochettino will, therefore,e get a chance to see some of his young players training with regular first-team players such as Fernando Llorente, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.
One player who will be training with the first-team this week is talented wide-man Keanan Bennetts, according to London Live.
The 19-year-old left-winger has been catching the eye for the club’s youth team in recent weeks, making the news after scoring a fantastic goal for the under-19s against Monaco in the UEFA Youth League last month.
Bennetts has also been attracting interest for his positional dexterity. The wide-man has played at left-back in recent times and it could be that is his future best position.
This week he will be up against some excellent players such as Lamela and Moura, who did not receive selection to the Argentina and Brazil national teams, respectively.
If he can prove himself with this calibre of player, Pochettino will have to take notice.
It is coming to a point in his Tottenham career when Bennetts has to make such an impact. The teenager is out of contract at Spurs in the summer and needs to ensure he is kept on for at least one more season.
Tottenham fans who follow the youth teams are certain he is deserving of such a chance. If he can show Pochettino what he is capable of this week, then a new deal will surely be in the pipeline for the talented wide-man.
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