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Six Eredivisie Signings That Have Conquered England

Hakim Ziyech will soon be adding to the list of signings from the Eredivisie to make their away across to the Premier League when he joins Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side at the end of the season.

However, he may not be the only Ajax star moving to England this summer, with Manchester United being linked with a move for Ziyech’s teammate Donny Van de Beek in recent weeks.

These are only two of the many talents that have emerged from the Dutch top division in recent years, so we’ve decided to take a look at six players from the Eredivisie that have transferred across and conquered the Premier League.

Six Eredivisie Signings to Have Conquered England

Robin van Persie (Feyenoord to Arsenal)

Back in 2004, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger managed to snap up the then 20-year-old Robin van Persie for a bargain fee of £2.75 million. The forward had been in impressive form for Eredivisie giants Feyenoord and was seen as a long-term replacement for his compatriot Dennis Bergkamp.

Safe to say, van Persie was a huge success during his eight-year spell in North London, scoring 132 goals in 278 appearances. Despite his impressive goal return, however, he only managed to lift a single FA Cup during his time with Arsenal, as well as the Community Shield in his maiden campaign.

Following his decision to turn down a contract renewal with the Gunners in the summer of 2012, van Persie signed for rivals Manchester United and blossomed under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson.

At the age of 29, time wasn’t exactly on the Dutchman’s side, but in his debut season in Manchester, he managed to get his hands on the Premier League crown, scoring 26 goals as United strode to their 20th league title.

Van Persie enjoyed a further two years in England before joining Turkish giants Fenerbahce in 2015.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United)

Another Dutch striker that has led the line admirably for Manchester United is Ruud van Nistelrooy. The former Real Madrid striker joined the Red Devils for £19 million, arriving from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2001.

Although it was a hefty price tag at the time, van Nistelrooy was unfazed by the pressure that came with the transfer fee, going on to score 23 goals in his first year in England. The forward’s goal-scoring numbers improved further in the following year, becoming the league’s top ranksman with a tally of 25 goals.

He wasn’t done there, however, and went on reach 15+ goals in each of his last three campaigns at Old Trafford, before completing a move to Real Madrid in 2006.

Supporters of the club were sad to see him ago, and van Nistelrooy remains highly regarded as one of United’s most prolific goalscorers, with a tally of 150 goals in 219 appearances.

Arjen Robben (PSV Eindhoven to Chelsea)

Arjen Robben may only have spent three years in the Premier League, but he certainly made an impression under Jose Mourinho’s stewardship at Chelsea.

The gifted winger featured for both Groningen and PSV in the Eredivisie before leaving the latter for Stamford Bridge in 2004. The Blues pipped Manchester United in the race for Robben’s signature, putting pen to paper after a bid of £12.1 million was accepted.

Following the move, he hit the ground running in England, contributing 13 goals as Chelsea secured back-to-back Premier League titles in both 2004/05 and 2005/06. He went on to spend just one more year in West London, before leaving for Real Madrid in 2007.

Whilst his stay in the country was relatively short-lived, Robben had certainly made a name for himself in England, lifting two Premier League and League Cup trophies, as well as an FA Cup during his three-year stint.

Dirk Kuyt (Feyenoord to Liverpool)

Cult hero Dirk Kuyt is next on our list, and his Premier League legacy began in August 2006 after Liverpool finalised a fee of around £9 million with Eredivisie side Feyenoord for the forward’s services.

Whilst he was never the main centre of attention at Anfield, Kuyt quickly became a favourite amongst the fans due to his commitment and his workhorse mentality (not forgetting his knack to score goals against local rivals Everton).

He stayed in England for six years, narrowly missing out on both Premier League and Champions League winners medals. Despite the heartache, however, Kuyt did enjoy some memorable moments with Liverpool, scoring in the League Cup final win over Cardiff City in 2012, as well as grabbing a hat-trick at Anfield against fierce rivals Manchester United.

Following the appointment of Brendan Rodgers as manager in June 2013, just like his compatriot van Persie, he moved over to Fenerbahce in Turkey, but to this day remains fondly remembered on the red half of Merseyside.

Park Ji-sung (PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United)

It’s not just Dutch players that impressed in the country’s highest division, with former South Korea international Park Ji-sung being the prime example.

The midfielder plied his trade in Holland for two years before Manchester United came calling in 2005. A bid of £4 million was enough to prise him away from Eindhoven, a fee which proved to be money well spent as Park went on to spend seven years with the club.

Now a club ambassador for United, he spent his years in Manchester as a popular figure amongst the supporters, and many believe that he was criminally underrated in a side that competed with the European elite for a number of years.

Sir Alex Ferguson was just one of many admirers that appreciated the work of Park, a versatile midfield player that lifted four Premier League trophies, three league cups, one Champions League and a Club World Cup.

At the age of 31, Park Ji-sung departed Old Trafford for Queens Park Rangers in 2012, before returning to PSV for a loan spell in the 2013/14 season.

Luis Suarez (Ajax to Liverpool)

The final player on our list, Luis Suarez, made the move over to England from the Eredivisie only a few months after his controversial performance in Uruguay’s quarter-final win over Ghana in the 2010 World Cup. The forward had already made quite a reputation for himself following his blatant handball in that game and went on to further enrage spectators with his actions during his three-and-a-half years with Liverpool.

However, whilst Suarez was often talked about for the wrong reasons, he was also mentioned for the right reasons as well, establishing himself as a world-class centre-forward with some breathtaking displays at Anfield.

Suarez was signed by Reds manager Kenny Dalglish in January 2011 and went on to score 82 goals in just 133 appearances for the club. He showed some glimpses of brilliance in his first three seasons in the Premier League, but it was in the 2013/14 season where ‘El Pistolero’ really cemented his Premier League legacy.

Despite missing out on the first five games of the season due to his infamous bite on Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, Suarez went on to equal both Alan Shearer’s and Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of scoring 31 goals in a 38-game season.

Four of those goals came in a 5-1 win over Norwich City, a game in which Suarez tore apart the opposition, and it remains widely regarded as one of the best ever solo displays from a player in the history of the Premier League.

It was his performances in that season that captured the attention of Barcelona, who completed the signing of the Uruguayan in the summer of 2014, ending Suarez’s eventful but astonishing period in English football.

Honourable Mentions

Jan Vertonghen (Ajax – Tottenham Hotspur)

Christian Eriksen (Ajax – Tottenham Hotspur)

Mousa Dembele (AZ Alkmaar – Fulham)

Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV – Newcastle United)

Thomas Vermaelen (Ajax – Arsenal)

Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht – Swansea City)


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