Eredivisie Preview: ADO Den Haag, NAC Breda, FC Utrecht
ADO Den Haag – Finally a residential club in the residency?
After taking over as coach from Maurice Steijn in the second half of last season, Henk Fraser did remarkably well to take ADO Den Haag from the bottom of the Eredivisie to a ninth place finish.
The turnaround under the 48-year-old was quite immense and the Suriname-born coach will be looking to build on the success of the early days of his coaching career. However, it will be extremely difficult for Steijn to do so.
Goalkeeper Gino Coutinho, centre-back Tom Beugelsdijk, defensive midfielder Danny Holla, attacking midfielder Ricky van Haaren, right winger Ninos Gouriye, forward Rydell Peopon, have all left, meaning coach Henk Fraser has to replace a significant contingent of the first-team he took over in February.
While the takeover of the club by United Vansen International Sports means the coming years will be very exciting from an ADO Den Haag stance, but so far there has been nothing in the way of investing in the first-team squad.
Midfielders Thomas Kristensen and Sem de Wit have joined, winger Xander Houtkoop and goalkeepers Martin Hansen and Tim Coremans have joined this summer on free transfers. Kristensen, who joins from Copenhagen, is an experienced defensive minded player who will slot into the midfield. Houtkoop, meanwhile, showed last season at Go Ahead Eagles that he has good pace and skill and is a good outlet on the left flank for Den Haag.
Overall, ADO have downgraded a lot over the summer and will miss the strength of Beugelsdijk, Holla and Poepon and if they lose striker Mike van Duinen, they could struggle even further.
Fraser did very well to take the team higher up the league and away from danger when he took over from Steijn during the season, but he has a very difficult job ahead of him in continuing that progress.
Player to watch: Xander Houtkoop
The winger has good pace and skill and was a crucial part of the Go Ahead Eagles side which finished 13th in their first season back in the Eredivisie. His crosses will see him provide great service to Mike van Duinen.
BeNeFoot prediction: 9th place
NAC Breda – Things need to improve
Having finished just three points above the relegation playoff places, the 2013-14 season was not a good one for Nebojsa Gudelj and his NAC Breda team.
Weak in defence, poor in the build up and ineffectual up front, NAC were rather horrendous throughout the campaign.
Anouar Hadouir, Jordy Buijs and Tim Gillessen, Kees Kwakman and Boldizsar Bodor have all left NAC and the loan deals of Rydell Poepon, Danny Verbeek and Stipe Perica have ended.
The Breda club have largely relied on free signings throughout the summer. Defensive midfielder Joeri de Kamps comes in from Ajax reserves, Erik Falkenburg will prove a good acquisition in the attacks as he joins from AZ, Kingsley Boateng has signed on a free from AC Milan while attacking left-back Remy Amieux remains in the Dutch top flight, joining from the relegated RKC.
Meanwhile, NAC brought right-back Isak Ssewankambo in from Chelsea to play as back up to Kenny van der Weg. Aleksandar Damcevski comes in to partner Henrico Drost in the heart of the backline.
Jeffrey Sarpong and Elson Hooi remain, meaning they still have some pace and skill on the flanks, but the lack of a centre-forward is a real cause for concern for Gudelj.
Player to watch: Jelle ten Rouwelaar
The goalkeeper and captain is a strong shot stopper and a good leader for his team on the pitch.
BeNeFoot prediction: 12th place
FC Utrecht – New promises and expectations
After a fifth place finish in 2012-13, last season was a dreadful one for FC Utrecht as they ended the campaign 10th in the Eredivisie.
Lust summer they lost the spine of their team and failed to replace the key players like Mike van der Hoorn, Jan Wuytens, Anouar Kali and Nana Asare and paid for it dearly. This year, key players Steve de Ridder has fled to join Copenhagen while centre-back Dave Bulthuis made the jump to the Bundesliga, signing for Nurnberg.
Perhaps the most significant departure, though, was that of coach and excellent tactician Jan Wouters. The 54-year-old has been replaced by Robby Alflen, who has been involved with the club for the last five years, spending two years as a youth coach before becoming Wouters’ assistant for the last three seasons.
Utrecht have added sensibly this summer. The likes of central defenders Christian Kum and Ramon Leeuwin have joined from Heerenveen and Cambuur have come in to boost a backline which conceded 65 goals last term. Kali has returned after his season with Roda JC while Nacer Barazite returns to the Netherlands after failed periods with Arsenal, Derby, Vitesse, Austria Wien and Monaco. The striker left NEC to join the Gunners at just 16-years-old and replaces Jacob Mulenga, who has been released.
Willem Janssen has joined on a permanent deal after spending last year on loan with Utrecht, but the former Twente player missed the majority of the campaign with a cruciate ligament injury. Ruud Boymans and Danny Verbeek have also moved to the Galgenwaard.
Overall, Utrecht will be more confident of a brighter campaign than the previous one and will certainly be looking to push for the Europa League playoff spots once again.
Player to watch: Tommy Oar
The young winger returns to league duty after his appearance for Australia at the World Cup and will be a key player for Utrecht once again as he looks to continue his development.
BeNeFoot prediction: 10th place