The competitiveness of the Eredivisie has seen a number of Premier League sides - Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Everton included - take an interest in the upcoming talent on offer in Holland.
Dusan Tadic - FC Twente (Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur)
When you’ve just played a World Cup Final versus Spain and you return to your club, you don’t expect some unknown, 21 year old FC Groningen-player to run you ragged in your first league game of the season. But that is exactly what happened to Gregory Van Der Wiel. Dusan Tadic inspired a 2-2 draw coming from two behind with playing a part in both goals, assisting one in the process. It was anything but an incidental performance. Dusan Tadic, a technically gifted winger with a left-foot as good as any topped the assist charts in the Eredivisie at the end of the season and racked up 21 assists during the course of the season. Only Özil and Messi did better in Europe that season. His second season didn’t go that well, but was by all means acceptable. It earned him a transfer to (then) Steve McClaren’s FC Twente and although they have been having a dreadful season by their standards, Dusan Tadic is showing his exceptional class by both scoring and assisting 14 goals in the league, which means he has directly contributed to over half of all league goals scored by FC Twente.
His main qualities are his mesmerising technique and trickery, great crossing ability and awareness for the through-ball. Furthermore, the Serbian is an incredibly fit player. Ever since he joined the Eredivisie, he has played every match (94 and counting). He is rather one-footed and he does lack a bit of pace, but when playing within a dominating side, both are hardly a problem. He is also comfortable playing from the number ten-position. He is an ambitious young man (24) and would be a good fit for the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
Lerin Duarte - Heracles Almelo (Swansea, Wigan)
When it comes to Dutch talent, Rotterdam is the city to be at the moment. Feyenoord’s youth academy has been delivering top talents for quite a few years now and the Sparta youth academy has not been too shabby either. Kevin Strootman and Jetro Willems (both PSV) are currently well-known, but one who could be joining them in fame is Lerin Duarte. The 22 year old central midfielder is now in his second season as a Heracles-player and although he has not been impressing up to the standards of his first season yet, the class is undeniably there. Duarte reads the game from a controlling position, but has the drive and vision to come forward as well. His left foot can deliver what his mind can create and it is no wonder FC Twente have taken a look at him already.
The all-round midfielder himself thinks he is ready for a next step and has repeatedly shown his desire to join a bigger club. He might be lacking in strength, but makes up for that by vision and stamina and he would fit within sides like Swansea and Wigan with their slick style of play.
Virgil Van Dijk - FC Grongingen (Newcastle United, Everton)
FC Groningen-supporters have been spoilt over the years with some amazing talent. The aforementioned Dusan Tadic, Luis Suarez and Arjen Robben have been wearing the green and white jersey, as well as lesser gods as Andreas Granqvist (Genoa), Marcus Berg (Hamburger SV) and Tim Matavz (PSV Eindhoven). At the moment, it’s all doom and gloom, but for one rough diamond shining bright: Virgil van Dijk. A 21 year old, tall defender has all assets needed for a top quality defender. At 6ft 4in, he has quite the physical presence. It doesn’t slow him down at all though. He possesses pace, calmness and passing ability. He is a strong header of the ball and is an accomplished crosser. Despite his age, he is already leading the defensive line. Despite strong interest during the winter transfer window, FC Groningen were adamant to keep him for the season. The club came out with a statement saying that keeping their best player would be necessary in their fight against relegation. It does seem inevitable Van Dijk will leave at the end of the season. The youngster has been lauded by many leading pundits as a future Dutch international and if he can keep up his impressive development, they might be right. Newcastle United have had him on the radar for quite some time now and a club of that stature would be a logical step in his career. However, Everton would be a natural fit too. With Distin ageing and Heitinga rumoured to be on his way, Van Dijk would have the prospect of being brought into the first team gradually. It has since been reported that Van Dijk has been granted permission to a number of interested parties, according to Voetbal International pundit René van der Gijp.
Alfred Finnbogason - SC Heerenveen (Stoke City, West Ham United)
SC Heerenveen has had some pretty prolific goal scorers through the years. Some fared well after leaving SC Heerenveen (Van Nistelrooy, Tomasson, Huntelaar), others (Afonso Alves) not. Last season, Bas Dost was the main man and when he departed for Vfl Wolfsburg, he did so with the Eredivisie golden boot under his belt, SC Heerenveen-manager Marco van Basten must have been worrying who would step in to deliver the goals. Three strikers were acquired, but there has hardly been a discussion over who would fill Dost's boots. Alfred Finnbogason, a 24 year old Icelandic striker, came in and has been doing the job with verve. He has shown intelligence in and around the box and is good with his head as well with both feet. He is pretty strong with the ball at his feet and a return of 20 goals in 24 league matches is just phenomenal for a side like SC Heerenveen, who are ranked ninth in the table at the moment. One point of critique is he should be more involved in general team play, but he still has time to develop further. Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham United have already shown interest, with their scouts following Finnbogason's progress closely. Aston Villa would be a good fit, Finnbogason could play off of Benteke while searching for holes in the opponents’ defence. Another shout would be West Bromwich Albion. With Lukaku likely to be back at Chelsea and Odemwingie an unwanted figure at the club, bringing in a natural goal scorer like Finnbogason wouldn't be a bad idea.
Piet Velthuizen - Vitesse (Fulham, West Ham United)
For a goal keeper aged only 26, Velthuizen can be considered quite an experienced one. With over 160 league appearances, the Vitesse youth academy graduate has been a man to build upon. Only a one year-spell at Hercules Alicante (2010/2011) clouded his career, but since the clubman has returned, he has been as reliable as ever. There is no exaggeration in saying he has been instrumental in the rise of Vitesse the last couple of years. Velthuizen, who has been described as ‘an Italian goalie’ because of his showy character, (Buffon is his idol) has been reliable and commanding. At 6ft 2in, he is rather imposing, but what stands out most are his reflexes. Velthuizen seems to be the complete package when it comes to goalkeepers and this season so far, he has held the most clean sheets in the league, causing the club to mount a title challenge. Even though Velthuizen is a man with a Vitesse-heart, he has shown his ambitions before by moving abroad. With West Ham United and Fulham both with an ageing keeper in goal, they would be mad not to at least consider the one time-capped Dutch international.