August 20, 2019
The best teenagers at Ajax, PSV, AZ and Utrecht do not play in a youth league. They face men in the country’s second division
The Dutch model of developing young footballers: let them sink or swim
By Gavin Willacy for Playing in the Shadows
Despite Ajax going desperately close to reaching the Champions League final, the Eredivisie seems to be out of fashion with Premier League recruiters. Only two players moved from the Dutch league to the Premier League this summer. Coincidentally, they went to last season’s top two, with Manchester City paying PSV £5.3m for Angeliño and Liverpool signing 17-year-old Sepp van den Berg from Zwolle for £4.4m. In contrast, six players arrived from Belgium at a cost of £98m.
Below the top six clubs in the Eredivisie, budgets are small, ranging from €7m to €17m, similar to clubs towards the top of League 1 and bottom of the Championship. The Eredivisie has been a source of talent in the past. Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Luis Suárez were all top scorers in the league before lighting up the Premier League. And both Romário and Ronaldo won the golden boot in the Netherlands as they made the move to European football.
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