The last nine Dutch Young Players of the Year to move to the Premier League
Nine of the past 16 winners of the Eredivisie Young Player of the Year award have joined a Premier League club at some point in their careers, featuring for the likes of Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea.
The award was renamed for the 2002-03 season to the Johan Cruyff Trophy, and a host of impressive names have gone on to win it – plus a couple who didn’t quite fulfiil their potential.
A number of those that did have gone on to appear in the Premier League. Sadly, we’re still waiting on Wesley Sneijder to join Manchester United.
Vincent Janssen – 2015-16
We’re starting with a bit of a miss, but it’s hard to begrudge Janssen his award after scoring 31 goals in all competitions in what was his first, and only, season in the Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar.
An unhappy season at Tottenham as Harry Kane’s understudy followed, while he scored on five goals in an injury-disrupted campaign at Fenerbahce in 2017-18.
The striker is expected to return to the Turkish club, so don’t expect to see him appear in the Premier League any time soon.
Memphis Depay – 2014-15
Depay was considered one of the brightest talents in Europe after earning a £25million move to Manchester United off the back of 28-goal season in which he fired PSV to the title.
The attacker failed to settle in England and offered an explanation for his struggles in an interview with Canal+.
“I know how it works in football. I’m the one who gets all the punches. ‘Memphis is crazy’, ‘Memphis does this…’
“I cannot be anyone else but Memphis. I tried that, and I was not happy with myself. Back in Manchester, I was not happy with myself.
“How can I be a great football player when you’re not happy with yourself? I looked in the mirror and I was not happy, I was sad. Now I’m happy to be myself.”
Since leaving Old Trafford for Lyon, the 24-year-old has begun to realise his potential in Ligue 1.
Davy Klaassen – 2013-14
Klaassen claimed the award after scoring 10 goals in 26 league appearances in what was his breakthrough season at Ajax.
Only one year later, he found himself replacing Niklas Moisander as the club’s captain, scoring 20 goals in all competitions to lead the side to the Europa League final in 2017.
That form convinced Everton to sign the attacking midfielder in a £23.7million move in a summer when they seemed intent on only landing No.10s.
Unsurprisingly, this left Klaassen struggling for first-team football. A January move to Napoli broke down, much to the disdain of Sam Allardyce, but he is expected to leave Goodison Park this summer.
Marco van Ginkel – 2012-13
Honestly, we will get to some hits, we promise.
It hardly came as a surprise when Van Ginkel joined Chelsea after impressing for Vitesse, but it’s quite remarkable that the midfielder is still technically a Blues player.
Van Ginkel started his career in west London with four first-team appearances, but an ACL injury in the final of those was the last time he made it onto the pitch for the club, and he has spent the past four years out on loan.
Thirty-one goals in 64 games at PSV in the last two and a half seasons should mean the 25-year-old is not short of suitors.
Christian Eriksen – 2010-11
Look! We told you there was a hit! A nice, little, Danish magician-sized hit.
Eriksen remained loyal to Ajax for another couple of seasons before joining Spurs, where he has developed into a fully-fledged creative genius.
’nuff said? No? Well, here are 1,000 more words on his brilliance.
Eljero Elia – 2008-09
A Football Manager hero on a version of the game we can’t quite remember, you could be forgiven for forgetting Elia’s spell in the Premier League.
The winger garnered an exciting reputation under Steve McClaren but left for Hamburg in the summer immediately prior to their title triumph.
Spells at Juventus and Werder Bremen followed before Elia spent the second half of 2014-15 on loan at Southampton, scoring twice in a win against Newcastle and admitting he was “100%” certain he wanted to stay at the club.
A permanent move failed to materialise, but he managed to finally win the Dutch title by joining Feyenoord, whom he left for İstanbul Başakşehir in 2017.
Looking back, his best spell may have been those golden few years for Leeds United on Football Manager.
Ibrahim Afellay – 2006-07
Afellay had to wait another three years after winning the award to get his move to a European giant, joining Barcelona in 2010.
The midfielder probably never expected his next permanent move to be to Stoke City, but he joined the Potters’ former Barcelona contingent in 2015.
We asked our editor and resident Stoke fan Mark Holmes to provide some expert insight into the 32-year-old, leading to the following conversation…
Planet Football lackey: “Anything interesting to say about Ibrahim Afellay?”
Homzy: “Not at all.”
Salomon Kalou – 2004-05
We miss Salomon Kalou, to be honest; never being quite sure if he’s any good or not, enjoying how he was always spuriously linked with Arsenal, how he won the bloody Champions League.
Twenty-seven goals for Feyenoord meant he was a worthy winner of this award, and it’s heartening to see he’s still doing well for Hertha Berlin.
— Hertha Berlin (@HerthaBSC_EN) July 22, 2018
Arjen Robben – 2002-03
See, we don’t even have to end on a dud. Robben still had hair when he was tearing up defences for PSV in the early 2000s.
Remarkably, we’ve even found footage of him cutting in off the wing to score a beauty with his right foot.