Eredivisie Preview: Europa League playoff contenders
Some boardroom chaos and the loss of two key players has cast a cloud over the Abe Lenstra Stadion this summer. Marco van Basten has lost his star attacking midfielder Filip Djuricic, an integral part of the team in each of the previous three years, after he joined Benfica in the summer. While, central defender Jeffrey Gouweleeuw has left to join league rivals AZ. To bolster the team though, the Frisian side have recruited young Norway international Magnus Wolff Eikrem as well as 19-year-old Stefan Savic and Yanic Wildschut from VVV-Venlo. Young left-back Mitchell Dijks has also been acquired on loan from Ajax. As well as these signings, a lot of youth players have been promoted up to the first-team. It will be interesting to see how the new players slot into the team in the early going, but if Van Basten manages to hold onto star striker Alfred Finnbogason, they should enjoy a more stable season than last.
BeNeFoot prediction: 7th
With a new coach, the loss of their central defensive partnership and one of their most promising young players, it has been a summer of great change for FC Groningen. Erwin van de Looi has been promoted from within to replace Robert Maaskant as head coach, while star defender Virgil van Dijk departed to join Celtic and Kees Kwakman left for NAC Breda. Furthermore, Groningen lost 21-year-old Leandro Bacuna to Aston Villa and Mitchell Schet to ADO Den Haag. It appeared to be a fairly grim summer for the Groningers, but the decline of the squad was alleviated when centre-back Eric Botteghin, left-back Giliano Wijnaldum and attacking midfielder Nick van der Velden were all brought in and Tjaronn Chery joined from ADO on loan with an obligatory clause to buy next summer. Also, Krisztián Adorján (central midfielder, loan with option to buy) and William Troost-Ekong (centre-back) have joined from Liverpool and Tottenham, respectively. These players may take some time to get used to their new surroundings, but they have enough about them to mount a credible challenge for a place in the Europa League playoffs.
BeNeFoot prediction: 8th
ADO Den Haag coach Maurice Steijn has picked out several potential acquisitions for his side this summer, but he has repeatedly been left frustrated by a lack of funds. Key players Rydell Poepon, Tjaronn Chery and Aleksandar Radosavljevic have all left the club, and they have brought in absolutely no money from the mass exodus this summer. Despite his inability to spend cash, Steijn has brought in some talented players. Ninos Gouriye, Mitchell Schet, Ricky van Haaren and Jerson Cabral are the most experienced of new recruits and all have Eredivisie experience. One exciting signing is 19-year-old striker Stefan Catalin Tira, who joined from Lazio. Luckily, ADO managed to keep a hold of the remainder of their key players, most importantly, frontman Mike van Duinen, who attracted the interest of several teams this summer.
ADO aren’t expected to be much better or worse off this season, having added wisely to replace the players they have lost in this transfer window.
BeNeFoot prediction: 9th
The most improved team in the Eredivisie last season, Utrecht are expected to go the opposite way this term. Timothy Derijck from PSV and Steve de Ridder, a free transfer from Southampton, are the only signings Jan Wouters has made this summer, while Mike van der Hoorn, Jan Wuytens, Anouar Kali and Nana Asare have all left. Meaning a huge chunk of the heart of last season’s excellent side which finished fifth last year has been ripped out. The general feeling about the current Utrecht team is that they will take a massive drop in comparison to last season.
BeNeFoot prediction: 10th
Approaching their second season in the Eredivisie, PEC Zwolle are getting used to life under new boss Ron Jans. Under the stewardship of Art Langeler, Zwolle rose to a comfortable mid-table finish last season with the help of loanees Wiljan Pluim, Arsenio Valpoort, Denni Avdic and Mateusz Klich. Of those players, only Klich has returned to Zwolle, having joined on a permanent basis. However, Guyon Fernandez has now been brought in on loan from Feyenoord and could prove to be a good addition to the squad, his former team-mate Kamohelo Mokotjo has also joined, along with former PSV man Stef Nijland. New coach Jans is expected to carry on the development of the exciting attacking football which Langeler instilled in the team. This season will be about building stability in the league as the team looks to develop and further establish themselves as a mid-table Eredivisie club.
BeNeFoot prediction: 11th
One club which has gone under a massive change this summer is Heracles. The Almelo club have lost their relentlessly attacking coach, Peter Bosz, to Vitesse, as well as Ninos Gouriye, Everton and Marko Vejinovic, while Geoffrey Castillion has returned to Ajax after his loan spell. Considering that Samual Armenteros (Anderlecht) and Willie Overtoom both left last winter too, the squad looks a whole less potent. Jan de Jonge has been made the new coach and is expected to instill a more defensive structure into the team than his predecessor. The new boss has had to rely on free transfers this summer, bringing in Matthew Amoah, Aleksei Kangaskolkka, Bryan Linssen and Oussama Tannane. The top tier experience of these players will benefit the team, but there is little growth expected from Heracles this season.
BeNeFoot prediction: 12th