The 2011-12 Dutch Eredivisie campaign starts up on Friday August 5 so with less than a week to kick-off it’s time to analyse the contenders for the upcoming campaign.
The reigning champions Ajax Amsterdam have lost a few key players but strengthened with the star players from title rivals Twente and AZ Alkmaar.
Meanwhile, it’s time for Fred Rutten’s PSV Eindhoven to challenge for the crown and they could be shaping up to do just that.
Last season: Champions (22 wins, 7 draws, 5 Losses, 72-30)
Topscorer: Mounir El Hamdaoui (13 goals)
Most assists: Christian Eriksen (9 assists)
Manager: Frank de Boer
Major Signings: Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (AZ Alkmaar - €5m), Thulani Serero (Ajax Cape Town – Undisclosed), Theo Janssen (FC Twente - €3m), Mats Rits (Germinal Beerschot – Free)
Major Departures: Demy de Zeeuw (Spartak Moscow - €6m), Marvin Zeegelaar (Espanyol – Free), Mitchell Donald (Roda JC – Free), Rob Wielaert (Roda JC – Free), Roly Bonevacia (NAC Breda – Loan), Florian Jozefzoon (NAC Breda – Loan), Rasmus Lindgren (Red Bull Salzburg – Free), Hyun-Jun Suk (FC Groningen – Free), Dario Cvitanich (Boca Juniors - Loan)
Ajax appear set to lose goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to AS Roma and Gregory van der Wiel and Jan Vertonghen may be on the move too. They’d join Demy de Zeeuw who has also left the champions, although he appears to have been perfectly replaced by Theo Janssen. Frank de Boer has also signed AZ striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and he’ll add some ammunition to their frontline following Luis Suarez’s January departure. Ajax’s genuine title hopes depend on their late transfer window activity with Stekelenburg and van der Wiel but they do appear strong once again.
Last season: Runners-up (21 wins, 8 draws, 5 Losses, 65-34)
Topscorer: Marc Janko (14 goals)
Most assists: Luuk de Jong (9 assists)
Manager: Co Adriaanse
Major Signings: Willem Janssen (Roda JC – Free), Tim Cornelisse (FC Utrecht - Free)
Major Departures: Patrick Gerritsen (Go Ahead Eagles – Free), Theo Janssen (Ajax Amsterdam - €3m), Wilko de Vogt (VVV Venlo – Free), Vagif Javadov (Volga Nizgorod – Free), Bernard Parker (Kaizer Chiefs - Undisclosed)
Michel Preud’homme has moved on from Twente to coach in Saudi Arabia, meaning the club have turned to Co Adriaanse. On the field, they’ve lost Theo Janssen and added little to the squad which went so close to the title last term. Nacer Chadli, Marc Janko and Bryan Ruiz could be the keys to Twente’s success, with the goals likely to come through them. Willem Janssen should add something to the midfield alongside Wout Bruma. It’s hard to say with a new coach, but Twente should be used to that and they should contend for the title again.
Last season: 3rd (20 wins, 9 draws, 5 Losses, 79-34)
Topscorer: Balazs Dzsudzsak (16 goals)
Most assists: Balazs Dzsudzsak (13 assists)
Manager: Fred Rutten
Major Signings: Khalid Sinouh (FC Utrecht – Free), Dries Mertens (FC Utrecht - €8.5m), Kevin Strootman (FC Utrecht - €4.5m), Georginio Wijnaldum (Feyenoord - €5m)
Major Departures: Marcus Berg (Hamburg SV – Loan Return), Jan Kronkamp (Go Ahead Eagles – Free), Stef Nijland (NEC Nijmegen – Loan), Balazs Dzsudzsak (Anzhi - €14m), Jagos Vukovic (Roda JC – Loan), Jeroen Zoet (RKC Waalwijk – Loan), Danny Koevermans (Toronto FC – Free), Maza (VfB Stuttgart)
Fred Rutten needs to take PSV to the title this term after two consecutive third-place finishes in the Eredivisie. The club have come into some money this off-season following the sale of ground under their stadium as well as Hungarian star Balazs Dzsudzsak. The latter’s departure is a blow but it has enabled Rutten to sign Dries Mertens and Kevin Strootman from Utrecht, while the exciting Georginio Wijnaldum adds quality too. Things need to change at PSV, but there’s hope with this squad, with players like Ola Toivonen promising plenty. Title contenders at last.
Last season: 4th (17 wins, 8 draws, 9 Losses, 55-44)
Topscorer: Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (15 goals)
Manager: Gertjan Verbeek
Major Signings: Jozy Altidore (Villarreal - €1.5m), Ruud Boymans (VVV Venlo - Undisclosed)
Major Departures: Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (Ajax Amsterdam - €5m), Jeroen Tesselaar (St Mirren – Free), Milano Koenders (NAC Breda – Loan), Boy Waterman (Alemannia Aachen – Free), Stijn Schaars (Sporting Lisbon – Free), Hector Moreno (Espanyol - €4m), Nick van der Velden (NEC Nijmegen - Free)
The 2009 champions appear out of their depth when it comes to challenging for the Dutch title at the moment. They’ve lost topscorer Kolbeinn Sigthorsson in a further blow and will place their faith in American striker Jozy Altidore. Stijn Schaars and Hector Moreno have also left, suggesting Gertjan Verbeek’s side could be well off the pace.
Last season: 10th (12 wins, 8 draws, 14 Losses, 53-54)
Topscorer: Luc Castaignos (14 goals)
Most assists: Diego Biseswar (9 assists)
Manager: Ronald Koemaan
Major Signings: Guyon Fernandez (Excelsior – Free), Miquel Nelom (Excelsior - Free)
Major Departures: Luc Castaignos (Inter Milan – €3,5m), Kevin Hofland (AEK Larnaca – Free), Tim de Cler (AEK Larnaca – Free), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven - €5m), Andre Bahia (Samsunspor – Undisclosed), Ryo Miyaichi (Arsenal – Loan Return)
Feyenoord were placed in turmoil when Mario Been was removed midway through the off-season after a player vote, with Ronald Koeman replacing him at the helm at De Kuip. The 2002 UEFA Cup winners haven’t won the Eredivisie since 1999 and that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon, with good players still leaving the club, including Georginio Wijnaldum to PSV and Luc Castaignos to Inter this off-season. Pushing for the top six is possible with some of the quality in their squad including Leroy Fer and Diego Biseswar.