With all eyes on the ongoing European Championship, It’s easy to forget that clubs across Europe are meticulously preparing for the forthcoming season.
The summer transfer window officially opened on July 1st and we’ve already seen plenty being business conducted, as well as imminent moves about to be done.
What follows are three such recent examples focusing on Dutch internationals with over 50 combined appearances for the Netherlands, along with a bonus update on a household name in the football world.
1. A full-back in demand
There is always an inherent risk whenever signing a player based on a few games at a major summer tournament. After the opening round of fixtures it’s apparent who is among the Netherlands best performing players. Aside from the usual big stars — Frenkie de Jong, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay — we see an unfamiliar name in Denzel Dumfries who only made his international debut in October 2018. However, saying all of that, his name was heavily associated with Everton before Euro 2020 got underway. The managerless Toffees are being overseen by Dutch sporting director Marcel Brands who is very familiar with Dumfries as they’ve previously worked together at PSV Eindhoven where the Oranje full-back currently plies his trade.
For all intents and purposes it would be a smart transfer for all parties involved. PSV collects a handsome fee while Dumfries completes a dream Premier League move plus Everton needs a right-back who can play 90 minutes and the switch from PSV to Everton isn’t the biggest. But the Merseyside giants need to act swiftly as the more headlines Dumfries generates the more clubs will be vying for his signature. Inter Milan and Bayern Munich are reportedly the latest interested parties. Talks, according to Sky Germany, have reportedly been held with his agent Mino Raiola, but the Bavrian outfit are reluctant to pay the €15m asking price for the 25-year-old.
2. Sancho’s successor?
Borussia Dortmund’s prowess in the transfer market is well-documented and they may need to be at their scouting best if they are to lose the services of Jadon Sancho who has been courted by Manchester United for what seems like ages. Sancho, a disgruntled Manchester City academy talent, succeeded Ousmane Dembélé who’s been consistently inconsistent since joining Barcelona and the circle of life is set to continue again. One name that’s popped up is PSV forward Donyell Malen; according to Bild the Dutchman is BVB’s top target to replace Sancho if he leaves this summer with Malen’s transfer fee reportedly around €30m. Dortmund are seemingly not alone in eyeing the 22-year-old with Liverpool also linked.
3. Age is just a number
Among those back in the Eredivisie alongside SC Cambuur and Go Ahead Eagles is NEC Nijmegen, who have already been making moves in the transfer market. Armed with an ambitious long-term plan to maintain their newly-acquired top-flight status, they recently brought Lasse Schöne back. The veteran Danish midfielder enjoyed four seasons at the Goffertstadion, where he registered 33 goals across 125 matches before moving onto Ajax, where he lifted three Eredivisie titles.
During his final season with the Amsterdammers, he shared a dressing room with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, whom NEC are reportedly closely monitoring after Schalke 04 released him following their Bundesliga relegation.
Ted van Leeuwen, the club’s sporting director, previously signed Huntelaar on loan from PSV Eindhoven to AGOVV Apeldoorn in 2004 and recently stated that the two have maintained a close relationship.
Even though ‘De Hunter’ turns 38 in August, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. “Football is my passion and if you’re passionate about something, it doesn’t cost you any energy,” he recently said. “Sometimes I need a little longer to recover, but in terms of experience I’m growing all the time.” Last season he bagged seven goals across 11 league appearances for Ajax before an ill-fated Schalke rescue mission.
4. Persevering at Old Trafford
Keeping hold of their Champions League semi-finalist stars was always a pipe dream for Ajax. In the last two summers, they have said goodbye to Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Hakim Ziyech and Donny van de Beek, with the latter joining Manchester United last summer.
His debut season at Old Trafford was nothing special. The man supporters dubbed ‘Maradonny’ featured no fewer than 36 times in all competitions for the Red Devils and could only muster one goal. More disappointing was the fact Van de Beek only completed the full 90 minutes on seven occasions but, given the plethora of competition for places, it was also understandable.
Euro 2020 should have been a reset, but he unfortunately sustained an injury ruling him out of this summer’s tournament. Speculation about his future hasn’t gone away, with reports linking Van de Beek with Arsenal.
Van de Beek’s agent isn’t having any of that, however. In a conversation with Voetbal International writer Simon Zwartkruis, he described those reports as “complete bull****” before stressing they’ve already spoken with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Van de Beek just needs to focus on his fitness and return to being the player they initially signed.
5. Guess who’s back
An illustrious 25-year managerial career ended in May 2016 when Manchester United sacked Louis van Gaal. He left with a FA Cup win, his 20th piece of silverware, and though happily retired, that didn’t stop his name being linked with any vacant job that opened up.
Van Gaal, who’ll celebrate his 70th birthday on August 8, resisted until now. But there’s a catch. The former Dutch national team boss is set to manage Dutch second division club Telstar for one game next season. Additionally, Van Gaal will be joined in the dugout by a lucky fan via lottery with the proceeds from ticket sales going to Dare to Dream and Muscles for Muscles Foundation.
— Witte Leeuwen (@telstar1963nv) June 15, 2021
6. Getting the band back together
A serious knee injury curtailed what could have been a promising Chelsea career for Marco van Ginkel though he’s now on the comeback trail after completing a permanent switch to PSV Eindhoven where he’s enjoyed several productive seasons on loan. After recovering from a knock last season the former Vitesse academy graduate made 11 appearances under Roger Schmidt registering one goal.
— PSV (@PSV) June 19, 2021
It remains to be seen whether he’s a guaranteed first-team starter next term and the same can be said for ‘best friend’ Davy Pröpper who is set to re-join from Brighton & Hove Albion following a 2020/21 campaign that saw him fall out of favour at the Premier League club. It’s not yet known the price PSV will pay, who still has two years left on his Brighton contract, though it’s expected to be less than the €10m requested by Brighton.