Football Season Guide

ADO Den Haag

In


Delano Ladan (att)(TOP Oss, end of loan); Milan Van Ewijk (def)(Excelsior Maasluis); Nick Kuipers (def)(FC Emmen, end of loan); Hennos Asmelash (def)(TOP Oss, end of loan)

Out


Sheraldo Becker (k)(att)(Union Berlin); Melvyn Lorenzen (sp)(att)(released); Giovanni Troupée (def)(FC Utrecht, end of loan); Ricardo Kishna (att)(Lazio, end of loan); Trevor David (def)(released); Kyle Ebecilio (mid)(released)

Thanks to a bright second half of the season and an even more impressive finish, ADO Den Haag managed to achieve a quiet safety in the past campaign, coming real close to qualify to the Europa League playoffs. With coach Alfons Groenendijk duly confirmed at the helm for the fourth year in a row, they were not particularly active during the summer transfer campaign. In fact, they mainly let go a few players who had failed to become protagonists during the past season, such as Troupée, David, Ebecilio and Kishna. The right winger Becker, whose goals and assists were fundamental for their salvation, is the sole key player to have gone, unfortunately, while the attack was also depleted by Lorenzen's departure, a forward whose campaign was plagued by too many injuries, though. More bad news could arrive up-front if El Khayati, their most prolific scorer and assist-man, quits for pastures new, which seems likely as he is currently at odds with the club. In terms of new arrivals, ADO Den Haag had some players returning to base after being loaned away. Kuipers, who had a mixed season at FC Emmen, is a potential starter in the heart of the defence, while Asmelash is a jolly who can be adapted both as right-back and midfielder. ADO are clearly missing some strengthening in the attack, at the moment they are testing the experienced Michiel Kramer, and El Khayati's departure could leave them with some serious problems.

Target


If ADO build on all the good done in the second half of last season, they could really compete for a place in the Europa League playoffs but need to solve the problems in the attack sometime soon. Otherwise, a quiet salvation seems more likely.

Ajax

In


Quincy Promes (att)(Sevilla); Razvan Marin (mid)(Standard Liege); Lisandro Martínez (def)(Defensa); Kik Pierie (def)(Heerenveen); Kjell Scherpen (gk)(Emmen); Luis Manuel Orejuela (def)(Cruzeiro end of loan); Benjamin van Leer (gk)(NAC Breda end of loan); Siem de Jong (att)(Sidney FC end of loan); Edson Alvarez (def)(America)

Out


Frenkie de Jong (k)(mid)(Barcelona); Daley Sinkgraven (sp)(def)(Bayer Leverkusen); Vaclav Cerny (sp)(att)(Utrecht); Kostas Lamprou (sp)(gk)(Vitesse); Matthijs de Ligt (k)(def)(Juventus); Rasmus Kristensen (sp)(def)(RB Salzburg)

It will not be easy to repeat the extraordinary previous season when they made the home double, winning League and KNVB Cup and, against all odds, reached the Champions League semifinals. A bitter end here as they were condemned by a goal suffered in the last minute of the second leg with Tottenham. However remain the extraordinary feats to have eliminated two European football giants like Real Madrid and Juventus. It will be difficult, especially because two of last season's key players left, De Jong moved to Barcelona and De Ligt to Juventus. Replace their playmaker and their captain as well as best defender, will be a very difficult task. However the Lancers will always be able to rely on their extraordinary youth sector from which to draw some new talent. Moreover at the helm of the team remains coach Ten Hag who knows his players very well. As for the transfer campaign, the club purchased young Romanian Marin to replace De Jong, at least on paper it would seem to be his ideal heir. Another interesting market move is the return to Amsterdam after many years of striker Quincy Promes. At least at the moment something would seem to be missing to the squad, especially in defence where De Ligt's departure has not yet been filled.

Target


As for the goals, they will surely be the favorites, along with PSV, for the national title and the KNVB cup. It will undoubtedly be more difficult in Europe where now the surprise factor will also be missing.

AZ Alkmaar

In


Ferdy Druijf (att)(NEC Nijmegen, end of loan); Fred Friday (att)(FC Twente, end of loan); Yukinari Sugawara (def)(Nagoya Grampus, on loan); Marko Vejinovic (mid)(Arka Gdynia, end of loan); Jordy Clasie (mid)(FC Southampton)

Out


Adam Maher (sp)(mid)(FC Utrecht); Ondřej Mihálik (att)(Viktoria Plzen, on loan); Mats Seuntjens (k)(mid)(Genclerbirligi); Ricardo Van Rhijn (sp)(def)(released); Piet Velthuizen (gk)(released); Mees Hoedemakers (mid)(SC Cambuur, on loan)

A season full of question marks is about to start for AZ. In fact, they begin life without coach John Van Den Brom after 5 undoubtedly successful campaigns, they made the top 4 four times, while his successor, his assistant Arne Slot, at 40, is at his first experience as a head gaffer. In the past campaign, AZ obtained a top 4 finish especially due to their home performances, while they were not as exciting when travelling. Coach Slot will thus be expected to improve from that point of view if they are to remain in the elite of the Dutch football. Slot will be able to count on a squad pretty similar to the past season's one. Seuntjens was the sole key player to have quit over the summer: he was attracted by Genclerbirligi and will certainly be missed in the midfield as he had provided a good deal of goals and assists. The likes of Maher and Van Rhijn also left but only the former had enjoyed an almost-regular status in the past campaign. Clasie, arriving from Feyenoord via Southampton, could be the man set to replace him in the heart of the midfield. Other than that, AZ mostly had players returning from loan while the young Sugawara, on loan from Nagoya Grampus, is likely to get some playing time at the back. Last season AZ had most goals from their midfielders but things might change this time around, especially if Boadu manages to repeat all the wonders he had allowed to be half-seen before getting injured.

Target


AZ should be able to make the European spots with ease. A lot will depend on how much Slot has really learned from his predecessor, though.

FC Emmen

In


Desevio Payne (def)(SBV Excelsior); Ferhat Görgülü (def)(Giresunspor); Filip Ugrinic (mid)(FC Luzern, on loan); Jan-Niklas Beste (def)(Werder Bremen, on loan); Leon Sopić (def)(NK Rudes); Lorenzo Burnet (def)(Excelsior); Marko Kolar (att)(Wisla Krakow); Matthias Hamrol (gk)(Korona Kielce); Nikolai Laursen (att)(PSV); Shani Tarashaj (att)(Everton, on loan); Stefan van der Lei (gk)(free agent); Tom Hiariej (mid)(Central Coast Mariners)

Out


Alexander Bannink (r)(mid)(Go Ahead Eagles); Andrej Lukić (def)(Sporting Braga, end of loan); Caner Cavlan (k)(def)(Austria Wien); Emil Bijlsma (mid)(VV Hoogeven; Gersom Klok (r)(def)(HHC Hardenberg); Hilal Ben Moussa (sp)(mid)(Sepsi OSK); Jason Bourdouxhe (sp)(def)(TOP Oss); Kjell Scherpen (k)(gk)(Ajax); Luciano Slagveer (r)(att)(KSC Lokeren, end of loan); Nick Kuipers (sp)(def)(ADO Den Haag, end of loan); Nicklas Pedersen (sp)(att)(retired); Nico Neidhart (def)(Hansa Rostock); Peter van der Vlag (gk)(retired); Reuven Niemeijer (sp)(mid)(Heracles Almelo, end of loan); Stef Gronsveld (sp)(def)(FC Dordrecht); Stephen Warmolts (def)(HHC Hardenberg); Sven Braken (sp)(att)(NEC Nijmegen, end of loan); Tim Siekman (sp)(def)(released); Zakaria El Azzouzi (att)(FC Volendam)

FC Emmen undoubtedly were one of the main surprises of the past campaign as they managed to reach salvation in their first Eredivisie season ever despite an extremely limited budget and no stars to count on. Coach Lukkien, the architect of their miraculous promotion to the top flight and an even more impressive subsequent salvation, will still be in charge, for the 4th season straight, but he will have to deal with a completely renewed squad as 19 players left while almost as many arrived over the summer. Even though several protagonists of the past campaign left for pastures new or returned to their parent clubs, among them Bannink, Cavlan, Klok and Slagveer, without any doubts, the key departure was represented by Scherpen. The 18-year-old goalie was bought by Ajax: his saves had proven decisive for their survival and will now be highly missed. The German/Polish Hamrol was hired to replace him between the sticks but he has limited top flight experience, just 22 games in Poland last campaign,. FC Emmen management especially went looking for more experience in the other departments: former Groningen Hiariej will add muscle to the midfield, but he might be rusty after two years in Australia, and the Turkish Gorgulu should strengthen an otherwise vulnerable defence. Last season, the attack represented one of Emmen's main weaknesses, with no scorer standing out, but this must have not looked a problem for Lukkien as only the promising Laursen and Tarashaj were signed. The two can be accounted for just 1 goal overall in the past season.

Target


Reaching salvation would represent another miracle for Emmen.

FC Groningen

In


Azor Matusiwa (mid)(Ajax); Bart van Hintum (def)(Heracles Almelo); Charlison Benschop (att)(FC Ingolstadt); Gabriel Gudmundsson (att)(Halmstads BK); Ramon Pascal Lundqvist (mid)(NAC Breda); Sam Francis Schreck (mid)(Bayer Leverkusen)

Out


Ahmad Mendes Moreira (sp)(att)(SBV Excelsior); Iliass Bel Hassani (sp)(mid)(PEC Zwolle); Julian Chabot (r)(def)(Sampdoria); Kevin Begois (gk)(retired); Lars Kramer (def)(Viborg FF); Ludovit Reis (k)(mid)(Barcelona); Mimoun Mahi (r)(att)(FC Zurich); Thomas Bruns (sp)(mid)(Vitesse, end of loan); Paul Gladon (sp)(att)(released); Tim Handwerker (r)(def)(FC Nurmberg)

The second half of the past season was an impressive one for Danny Buijs and his boys as they managed to qualify to the playoffs for a place in the Europa League. At his first year in charge, the young coach managed to obtain an array of positive results thanks to a tight defence and a cynical attack and he will now aim to do that again in the new season. It will be far from easy, though, as Groningen lost several players over the summer. Above all, they lost the services of wunderkind Reis, whose impressive skills in the middle of the park logically attracted Barcelona's interest. Beside him, they lost two regular defenders in Chabot, a centre-back, and Handwerker, a left-back, and their top scorer, Mahi, who was too injury-prone, though. The just-arrived experienced Van Hintum might thus be contending with junior player Absalem on the left while Memisevic, a midfielder, could be set for a definitive move to the heart of the defence. With Lundqvist likely becoming a protagonist in the midfield, Groningen also had to address their main problem in the past season, their scoring poorness that is. In fact, they had only managed to score 39 goals, just better than 2 relegated sides. They added the likes of Benschop and Gudmundsson to their attack and these ones will be expected to provide the goals.

Target


Groningen aim at repeating the second half of the past campaign but will do so only if the newcomers immediately gel together with the other players.

FC Twente

In


José Matos (def)(Cadiz, on loan); Emil Berggren (att)(FSV Mainz); Giorgi Aburjania (mid)(Sevilla, on loan); Julio José Pleguezuelo Selva (def)(Arsenal); Keito Nakamura (att)(Gamba Osaka, on loan); Lindon Selahi (mid)(Standard Liege); Paul Verhaegh (def)(VfL Wolfsburg); Rafik Zekhnini (att)(Fiorentina, on loan)

Out


Cristian Marcelo González Tassano (r)(def)(Sevilla, end of loan); Fred Friday (sp)(att)(AZ, end of loan); Ignacio Monsalve Vicente (r)(def)(NAC Breda); Matthew Smith (r)(mid)(Manchester City, end of loan); Mo Hamdaoui (sp)(att)(De Graafschap, end of loan); Oussama Assaidi (sp)(att)(released); Ulrich Bapoh (sp)(mid)(VfL Bochum, end of loan); Ricardinho (r)(def)(released); Nick Hengelman (gk)(released); Dylan George (att)(released); Rafael Ramos (sp)(def)(Santa Clara)

FC Twente returned to the Eredivisie at the first time of asking thanks to a triumphal Erste Divisie campaign that saw them taking the lead in week 22 and building a substantial gap from their followers. It was far from an easy season, though, as coach Pusic was first sacked in October and then re-instated ad interim following Verbeek's sacking due to poor results. The Bosnian was subsequently not confirmed at the helm and he was replaced by 35-year-old Uruguayan Gonzalo Garcia Garcia. The youngest coach of the Eredivisie served as an assistant at Twente in the past campaign and was eventually promoted, which might be a very risky move considering his excessively-limited experience. The squad lost several protagonists over the summer as their temporary loans came to an end. This was certainly the case of Cristian Gonzalez and Monsalve, who often acted together in the heart of the defence, and right-back Ricardinho. Defensive midfielder Smith also returned to England, Citizens side, after a positive campaign. In order to overcome those departures, especially at the back, they signed a bunch of youngsters and more experienced players. Verhaegh in particular is a seasoned right-back coming to prove that he still has some football in his legs while Matos and Pleguezuelo have still to show all their skills. While most of the new arrivals are still unknown entities for the Dutch football, Twente must be happy for keeping Aitor and Boere, whose goals was fundamental for their immediate return to the Eredivisie after just 1 year in the second tier.

Target


Salvation would be a great result for them but they will have to fight a lot for that. They do not seem to be ready for the top flight yet.

FC Utrecht

In


Vaclav Cerny (att)(Ajax); Adrian Dalmau (att)(Heracles Almelo); Adam Maher (mid)(AZ Alkmaar); Justin Lonwijk (att)(PSV U21); Issah Abass (att)(FSV Mainz 05 on loan); Giovanni Troupée (def)(ADO Den Haag end of loan); Odysseus Velanas (mid)(Helmond Sport); Patrick Joosten (att)(VVV Venlo end of loan);

Out


Nicolas Gavory (r)(mid)(Standard Liege); Nick Marsman (gk)(Feyenoord); Cyriel Dessers (sp)(att)(Heracles Almelo); Michiel Kramer (att)(released); Oussama Tannane (sp)(att)(Saint Etienne end of loan); Riechedly Bazoer (r)(mid)(Wolfsburg end of loan); Timo Letschert (r)(def)(Sassuolo end of loan)

The last season was almost the copy of the previous one, they ended in 6th place instead of 5th, but collecting only one point less than last year. Yet this year the conclusion was much sweeter, while in 2018 they had lost the playoff final for access to Europa League against Vitesse, this year they got revenge and defeated the Arnhem team. All in all a positive campaign even if a little step forward was expected. Dick Advocaat faced troubles in finding the right balance, the team scored few goals and he was often criticized for his too utilitarian and not very spectacular play. That is why at the end of the season he left, being replaced by former AZ Alkmaar coach John van den Brom. Many changes during the summer transfer market, especially in attack where Dessers, Kramer and Tannane left, being replaced by Cerny, Abass, Joosten and above all Dalmau, who last season scored 19 goals in Eredivisie with Heracles. If the situation seems settled in attack they have yet to fill in the holes in midfield to replace the departures of important players like Bazoer and Gavory.

Target


Utrecht seem to be able to repeat the last two seasons, for a quality leap a lot will depend on Dalmau's goals.

Feyenoord

In


Emil Hansson (att)(RKC Waalwijk, end of loan); Furdjel Narsingh (att)(Swansea City); Liam Kelly (mid)(Reading); Nick Marsman (gk)(FC Utrecht); Renato Tapia (mid)(Willem II, end of loan): Leroy Fer (mid)(free agent)

Out


Cuco Martina (sp)(def)(Everton, end of loan); Robin Van Persie (k)(att)(retired); Jordy Clasie (r)(mid)(Southampton, end of loan); Joris Delle (gk)(Orlando Pirates); Mohamed El Hankouri (att)(FC Groningen, end of loan); Ramón ten Hove (gk)(FC Dordrecht); Tonny Vilhena (r)(mid)(Krasnodar)

The successful experience of Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, at the helm of Feyenoord, 1 Eredivisie title, 2 KNVB Cups and 2 Super Cups in 4 years, came to an end last May and so the Rotterdam side opted for Jaap Stam as his successor. The former Dutch international recently managed to lead PEC Zwolle to a quiet salvation and will now be asked, if nothing else, to maintain a top 3 status for Feyenoord. And to possibly go for more. Unfortunately for him, Stam will be unable to rely on last season's best player as Van Persie decided to hang up his boots at the end of the campaign. Not just that. The squad saw also the departure of two regulars in the midfield, Clasie and Vilhena, and might also end up losing Berghuis. The right winger, whose goals and assists were also decisive in the past campaign, should end up strengthening PSV. In the attack, the experienced Jorgensen and the talented Vente should be expected to provide the goals together with newly-arrived Narsingh, who might represent a promising alternative to Berghuis on the wing. In the midfield, 18-year-old Kokcu, who showed some great skills last season, could be given more and more playing time such as Tapia, returning from a positive loan at Willem II. Also protagonists could be Kelly, arriving from Reading, and Fer, a seasoned midfielder returning to the club where his career started after some time in the UK.

Target


Feyenoord are always expected to fight for the title but they seem to have lost a lot, especially in terms of firepower. Berghuis's departure could weaken them even more. And Stam still has to prove himself leading a top team.

Fortuna Sittard

In


Grégoire Amiot (def)( Bourg-en-Bresse); Àlex Carbonell (mid)(Valencia on loan); Felix Passlack (def)(Borussia Dortmund on loan); Rasmus Karjalainen (att)(KuPS); Damascan (att)(Torino on loan); Mickaël Malsa (mid)(Albacete on loan); Luc Tinnemans (mid)(EVV Echt end of loan); Bo Breukers (mid)(Dordrecht end of loan); Jacky Donkor (att)(Lokeren II)

Out


George Mells (mid)( Brisbane Roar); Rubén Ramírez (sp)(def)(Atletico Venezuela); Lars Hutten (sp)(mid)(TOP Oss); Calvin Mac-Intosch (r)(def)(Cambuur); Aykut Özer (gk)( Karagümrük); Finn Stokkers (r)(att)(NAC Breda); Alessandro Ciranni (sp)(def)(Mouscron); Lisandro Semedo (r)(att)(OFI Crete on loan); Marco Ospitalieri (sp)(def)(released); Kai Heerings (sp)(def)(released); Gavin Vlijter (sp)(att)(released); Anthony Syhre (def)(released); José Rodríguez (r)(mid)( FSV Mainz 05 end of loan); Ahmed El Messaoudi (r)(mid)(Mechelen end of loan); Andrija Balic (mid)(Udinese end of loan); Andrija Novakovich (r)(att)(Reading end of loan); Lazaros Lamprou (r)(att)(Paok Thessaloniki end of loan)

The past season Fortuna Sittard reached their goal of avoiding relegation, a good achievement considering they were a newly promoted team. Despite this, something more was expected, above all to avoid certain humiliating defeats, then not suffering till the last round. René Eijer's 4-3-3 system of play only partially worked for the attack, but definitively failed in defence which was by far the worst in the league with 80 goals suffered. That is why the club decided to make a change on the bench appointing young Sjors Ultee. The club has also decided to revolutionise the squad during the summer transfer market. Many important players were sold or left because of the loan’s end such as Rodriguez, El Messaoudi, Lamprou, Semedo, Mac-Intosch, Stokkers and so on. So far there were no major arrivals to replace them, only a bunch of promising but also very young and inexperienced players. The most interesting are striker Damascan on loan from Torino and Carbonell on loan from Valencia.

Target


The main goal is of course to avoid relegation, a feat certainly not easy considering the many new faces and the absolute inexperience of the coach.

Heracles Almelo

In


Teun Bijleveld (mid)(Ajax U21 on loan); Cyriel Dessers (att)(Utrecht); Orestis Kiomourtzoglou (mid)(Unterhaching); Mauro Júnior (att)(PSV on loan); Navajo Bakboord (def)(Ajax U21 on loan); Adrian Szöke (att)(Koln II on loan);

Out


Brandley Kuwas (r)(att)(Al-Nasr); Adrián Dalmau (r)(att)(Utrecht); Wout Droste (sp)(def)(Go Ahead Eagles); Lerin Duarte (sp)(mid)(Aris Salonika); Zeki Erkilinc (att)( FC Dordrecht); Bart van Hintum (sp)(def)(Groningen); Yoëll van Nieff (sp)(mid)(Puskás AFC); Tim van de Berg (def)(released)

2018/2019 was definitively a positive season for Heracles who improved on the past year's position, from 10th to 7th, thus reaching the playoffs for a spot in Europa League. Unfortunately they arrived very tired at the crucial moment, lost the last three games of the regular season and were immediately eliminated by Utrecht. Unfortunately during the summer transfer market two of the best players left Almelo, Kuwas was sold to Al-Nasr in Dubai to make cash, Dalmau, last season's Heracles top scorer with 19 goals, was sold to Utrecht. Two great losses in the forward sector that will be hardly filled by new purchases: youngsters Mauro Junior, on loan from PSV, and Szöke, on loan from Koln. Great hopes are placed on the most experienced Dessers, although there are some doubts about his physical condition. Three serious knee injuries had deprived Heracles for most of the past season of Hardeveld, Jakubiak and especially captain Propper...good news is that they will soon be available. Other good news is that experienced coach Wormuth was confirmed on the bench. Anyway the German will have to improve the defensive phase that last year was absolutely deficient.

Target


Difficult to predict what will be the path of the black and whites this year in Eredivisie, much will depend on whether they will find the right balance between defence and attack. Anyway they will probably be in the running for a spot in the playoffs.

PEC Zwolle

In


Xavier Mous (gk)(Cambuur); Sam Kersten (def)(FC Den Bosch); Sai van Wermeskerken (def)(Cambuur on loan); Etiënne Reijnen (def)(Maccabi Haifa on loan); Dennis Johnsen (att)(Ajax U21 on loan); Michael Zetterer (gk)(Werder Bremen on loan); Iliass Bel Hassani (mid)(AZ Alkmaar); Mike Hauptmeijer (gk)(Achilles ’29 end of loan)

Out


Younes Namli (r)(mid)(Krasnodar); Kingsley Ehizibue (r)(def)(FC Koln); Sepp van den Berg (r)(def)(Liverpool); Dico Koppers (def)(Almere City on loan); Mickey van der Hart (r)(gk)(Lech Poznan on loan); Ruben Ligeon (def)(As Trencin); Diederik Boer (sp)(gk)(retired); Dean Bouzanis (gk)(Melbourne City end of loan); Ouasim Bouy (r)(mid)(Leeds United end of loan); Denis Genreau (mid)(Melbourne City end of loan)

The past season was a fluctuating one. The first 4 months were disastrous, 9 defeats in 16 games and a very worrying table situation that saw them clearly involved in the fight to avoid relegation. Things changed dramatically with the new year when Jaap Stam was appointed new coach in place of Van ‘t Schip. Stam's impact was immediately positive, the team collected a string of victories and climbed up the table, moving away from the relegation zone. At one point they were also very close to fight for a spot in the playoffs, but in the last rounds gave up, losing a few games. Given his great job, the former Manchester United centre-back has made a quantum leap going on to coach Feyenoord. Zwolle signed John Stegeman in his place. This is a big question mark considering Stageman’s limited experience, 3 years with Heracles Almelo and the past one on the bench of Go Ahead Eagles. Moreover some of the best players, such as right-back Ehizibue and midfielder Namli, left. However the main unknown is between the posts considering that Boer retired and Van der Hart moved to Poland. To check if their replacements, Mous from Cambuur and Zetterer from Werder Bremen, will be up to par.

Target


The main seasonal goal will be a quiet survival, much will depend on new coach’s feeling with the team.

PSV Eindhoven

In


Toni Lato (def)(Valencia, on loan); Bruma (att)(RB Leipzig); Derrick Luckassen (def)(Hertha BSC, end of loan); Ibrahim Afellay (mid)(free agent); Lars Unnerstall (gk)(VVV Venlo, end of loan); Olivier Boscagli (def)(OGC Nice); Robbin Ruiter (gk)(free agent); Sam Lammers (att)(SC Heerenveen, end of loan)

Out


Armando Obispo (def)(Vitesse, on loan); Aziz Behich (def)(Istanbul Basaksehir); Daniel Schwaab (r)(def)(released); Dante Rigo (mid)(Sparta, on loan); Eloy Room (gk)(Columbus Crew); Hidde Jurjus (gk)(De Graafschap, on loan); Angelino (k)(def)(Manchester City); Kenneth Paal (def)(PEC Zwolle, on loan); Luuk de Jong (k)(att)(Sevilla); Mauro Junior (mid)(Heracles Almelo, on loan); Maxi Romero (att)(Velez Sarsfield, on loan)

PSV failed to achieve the past Eredivisie title, despite holding the best defence of the league and losing fewer games than any other opponents, as a stuttering beginning of the new year cost them dear. Coach Mark Van Bommel, in his second year in charge, will now be expected to build on last season's almost perfect home record, all wins but 1 draw, while his boys will have to improve in terms of personality, especially when visiting the top sides. Van Bommel will have to make it without Angeliňo's assists and De Jong's goals, though, as the two key players left for pastures new. At left-back, the newly-arrived Lato and Boscagli will be contending for a start with the French-man also considered for a place at centre-back. In fact, the likes of Luckassen and Sainsbury do not seem ready to fill the shoes of Schwaab, who also quit. In the attack, with De Jong gone and Lozano and Bergwijn still liable to move, Lammers, back after an impressive stint at SC Heerenveen, will have to provide the goals together with Bruma and Malen, who could both become protagonists on the wings. In the midfield, youngsters like Ihattaren and Sadilek will be given more playing time while Afellay's return to the club where he started, represents a huge bet.

Target


PSV will be fighting for the title but might be struggling, especially if more stars quit and are not properly replaced. More quality is needed in defence and attack.

RKC Waalwijk

In


Lennerd Daneels (att)(PSV U21); Nando Nöstlinger (att)( Antwerpen Reserves); Teun van Grunsven (def)( SV Oss '20); Dean van der Sluys (def)(Top Oss); Hannes Delcroix (def)(Anderlecht on loan)

Out


Roland Bergkamp (att)( Katwijk); Gigli Ndefe (r)(def)( MFK Karvina); Jordy Zielschot (gk)( SteDoCo)

After 5 years in Eerste Divisie Waalwijk returned to the top division. An unexpected promotion not being among the favorites at the beginning, and having finished the regular season in 8th position. In the playoffs, however, they managed to bring out their best, first they eliminated N.E.C., then, surprisingly Excelsior (16th in Eredivisie) and in the final the favourites Go Ahead Eagles thanks to a goal at the last minute. During the summer transfer market the club did not make many changes. First and foremost they kept coach Fred Grim who was the main architect of promotion, trusting him despite his lack of experience as a first coach in Eredivisie. The former Ajax goalkeeper has shown a certain malleability from a tactical point of view, often changing the system of play, from 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1 up to 4-3-3.

Target


The goal is obviously to avoid an immediate relegation as has happened in their last two appearances in Eredivisie (2009-10 and 2013-14). On the one hand they have the advantage of having the same coach who knows his players well, on the other, however, also a certain lack of experience at this level, both by the players and the coach himself.

SC Heerenveen

In


Chidera Ejuke (att)(Valerenga); Hicham Faik (mid)(Zulte Waregem); Jens Odgaard (att)(Sassuolo, on loan); Jordy Bruijn (mid)(NEC Nijmegen, end of loan)

Out


Dennis Johnsen (sp)(att)(PEC Zwolle); Doke Schmidt (sp)(def)(released); Jan Bekkema (gk)(SV Straelen); Kik Pierie (r)(def)(Ajax); Michael Vlap (k)(mid)(Anderlecht); Morten Thorsby (sp)(mid)(Sampdoria); Pelle van Amersfoort (r)(mid)(Cracovia Krakow); Sam Lammers (k)(att)(PSV, end of loan); Stijn Schaars (mid)(retired); Yuki Kobayashi (r)(mid)(released)

The past campaign was not a memorable one for Heerenveen, as they failed to reach a top half finish, drawing far too many games and conceding too many goals, and eventually had to change coach midway through. Johnny Jansen, who took over as head coach from Olde Riekerink, he was his assistant earlier on, was confirmed in charge and will now be asked to lead the team to another quiet salvation. He will have to do it with a completely different squad, though. In fact, no less than 10 players quit and at least 6 of them were protagonists of the past campaign. The likes of Lammers and Vlap in particular had imposed themselves as the key players, scoring and assisting plenty and heavily contributing to the 5th best attack of the league. Just as well, Perie left a hole in the heart of the defence, departing for Ajax, while Thorsby, who made a move to Sampdoria, had lost his starting eleven status in the midfield at some point in the season. Moreover, Van Amersfoort and Kobayashi were also let go. The Swedish Dresevic, after one year spent learning the trade, might step up at centre-back, with Skovgaard representing the main alternative. On the other hand, Faik arrived from Zulte Waregem and should become a regular in the midfield. For the attack, Bruijn, who returned after being loaned away to NEC, Ejuke from Valerenga and on-loan Odgaard, who had a very brief taste of Serie A football in Sassuolo, will be expected to become protagonists and to provide the goals.

Target


Heerenveen aim at a quiet salvation. They might find it harder than the past campaign, though, as they have not properly replaced, both qualitatively and quantitatively, those players who left over the summer.

Sparta Rotterdam

In


Denzel James (att)( Noordwijk); Jurgen Mattheij (def)(Excelsior); Bryan Smeets (att)(TOP Oss); Laros Duarte (mid)(PSV U21); Dante Rigo (mid)(PSV on loan); Khalid Karami (def)(Vitesse on loan); Abdallah Aberkane (def)(Ajax U19); Ariel Harush (gk)(Beer Sheva);

Out


Gregor Breinburg (mid)(De Graafschap); Édouard Duplan (att)(released); Roy Kortsmit (r)(gk)(released); Janne Saksela (sp)(def)(released); Giliano Wijnaldum (def)(released);

After two years in Eerste Divisie Sparta Rotterdam are back in the league that best suits them. They are in fact one of the oldest football clubs in the Netherlands (founded in 1888!) and can also boast an impressive record having won 6 titles (the last in 1959) and 3 national cups (the last in 1966). Last year they ended the regular season in 2nd position (11 points from the champions, Twente). In the playoffs' second round they defeated Oss, while in the final they had the better of De Graafschap, who had finished 17th in Eredivisie. The main architect of the promotion was undoubtedly Henk Fraser, a coach capable of modifying the system of play according to the opponent and to the men available: so last year he alternated 3 and 4 man defence, playing either with 1, 2 or 3 forwards. During the summer transfer market they held most of the first string players, aiming above all at reinforcing the squad with the inclusion of midfielder Dante Rigo on loan from PSV, former Excelsior defender Jurgen Mattheij and a few other promising players.

Target


Being a newly promoted team the minimum goal is to stay in Eredivisie: however, considering the blazon of the team, it is reasonable to expect something more. Furthermore the coach knows the environment well and has a solid team at his disposal with an interesting attack (last year they were the best attack of Eerste Divisie with 78 goals).

Vitesse

In


Tomas Hajek (def)( Viktoria Plzen); Oussama Tannane (att)( Saint-Étienne on loan); Armando Obispo (def)(PSV Eindhoven on loan); Riechedly Bazoer (mid)( VfL Wolfsburg); Jay-Roy Grot (att)(Leeds on loan); Thomas Bruns (att)(Groningen end of loan); Julian Lelieveld (def)(Go Ahead Eagles end of loan); Lamprou (gk)(Ajax)

Out


Maikel van der Werff (sp)(def)(Cincinnati); Arnold Kruiswijk (sp)(def)(retired); Alexander Büttner (r)(def)(released); Eduardo (r)(gk)(Chelsea end of loan); Jake Clarke-Salter (r)(def)(Chelsea U23 end of loan); Mohammed Dauda (r)(att)(Anderlecht end of loan); Martin Ödegaard (k)(mid)(Real Madrid end of loan);

Season 2018/2019 can be considered a positive one: they collected 4 points more than the previous year, improving also the final regular season positioning, from the 6th to the 5th position. However for a final judgment one cannot ignore the last two games, those of the playoff final. Also this year Sloetski's team was good at getting to the end but, while the previous one the outcome was different, this time defeated by Utrecht. Throughout the season the Russian coach (who almost always relied on a too static 4-4-2) has been criticised for his profitable but too defensive play, almost never able to entertain the crowd. Despite this he was confirmed on the bench. So far the summer transfer-market has been frantic: some regular players have left, such as centre-back Clarke-Salter and left-back Büttner: they have not confirmed the loan of Dauda from Anderlecht, not a surprise considering his disappointing contribution. Anyway the greatest loss is definitively the one of Martin Ödegaard, last season’s best player, as expected back to Real Madrid. They can now count on interesting players such as Bazoer, hopefully Ödegaard’s replacement, defender Obispo on loan from PSV, and forward Tannane, a good talent but coming from the negative experience in Utrecht.

Target


The main goal is obviously improving recent placements, and possibly reaching a European spot...not easy at all but not impossible. Another goal is also to be able to entertain their supporters with more exciting football.

VVV-Venlo

In


Elia Soriano (att)(Korona Kielce); Haji Wright (att)(Schalke 04); Jerome Sinclair (att)(Watford, on loan); Richard Neudecker (mid)(FC St Pauli); Samuel Scheimann (def)(Beitar Jerusalem); Steffen Schäfer (def)(FC Magdeburg); Thorsten Kirschbaum (gk)(Bayer Leverkusen); Tobias Pachonik (def)(FC Carpi)

Out


Jay-Roy Jornell Grot (r)(att)(Vitesse); Jerold Promes (r)(def)(released); Lars Unnerstall (r)(gk)(PSV, end of loan); Moreno Rutten (r)(def)(FC Crotone); Patrick Joosten (r)(att)(FC Utrecht, end of loan); Peniel Mlapa (k)(att)(Al-Ittihad Kalba); Sem Steijn (mid)(Al Wahda); Evren Korkmaz (def)(Adanaspor)

After reaching survival in the top flight of the Dutch football for the second year straight, VVV Venlo had to part ways with coach Maurice Steijn as the latter preferred to end a 5-year relationship for a sumptuous offer from the Emirates. In order to replace him, the management hired the controversial Robert Maaskant, who had previously announced his retirement from coaching. After some successful years at RBC Roosendaal, he has rarely managed to repeat himself, going from firing to firing over the last decade. Living on a tight budget, VVV had to see several players quitting over the summer due to the end of their loans from bigger clubs. First of all, Unnerstall returned to PSV after contributing to their safety with his saves. Then, their attack was literally decimated as the likes of Grot, Mlapa and Joosten all left too. Last, but not least, they also lost two protagonists of the defence as right-back Rutten signed for Crotone and the aging centre-back Promes, who ended his past season too soon due to injury, was released. The seasoned Kirschbaum, who had little chances to play last year at Bayer Leverkusen, will thus be acting in goal while the other new-comers Pachonik, Schafer and Scheimann should also find themselves relevant playing time at the back. The reins of the attack should be given to a bunch of promising youngsters who displayed some skills in the past campaign but might not be fully ready for the Eredivisie: Wright, from Schalke 04, Soriano, from Polish Korona Kielce, and Sinclair, from Watford.

Target


A tough season might be looming over VVV Venlo due to the coach change and the loss of several players, especially in the attack, who might not have been properly replaced.

Willem II

In


Mats Köhlert (att)( Hamburger SV II on loan); Ché Nunnely (att)(Ajax U21 on loan)

Out


Kristófer Kristinsson (sp)(att)(Grenoble); Elmo Lieftink (mid)(Go Ahead Eagles); Atakan Akkaynak (mid)( C. Rizespor on loan); Vurnon Anita (sp)(mid)(Leeds end of loan); Alexander Isak (k)(att)(Borussia Dortmund end of loan); Diego Palacios (r)(def)(SD Aucas end of loan); Renato Tapia (r)(mid)(Feyenoord end of loan); Dan Crowley (r)(mid)(Birmingham)

The past one was a positive campaign for the Tricolores even if in the end the outcome was a bit harsh. Until spring they had built the foundations for an excellent season: an impressive path in KNVB Cup had led them to reach the final, and in Eredivisie were well inside the playoff zone to access Europa League. In the last month they threw everything away, were thrashed by Ajax in the Cup Final, and in the League collected only one point in the last four games, slipping out of the playoff zone just in the end. During the summer transfer market, three very important players left, one per sector: top scorer Alexander Isak, left-back Diego Palacios and midfielder Renato Tapia...they were all on loan and went back to their respective owners. At the moment the gaps aren’t filled, and if something doesn’t move, they definitely won’t repeat the past season. Only two interesting but very young strikers came in Tilburg, both on loan, Kohlert from Hamburger and Nunnelly from Ajax. The positive note is that they can rely on a very experienced coach as Adrie Koster, who knows the squad and the environment very well.

Target


As for the season’s goals, Willem II will try to reach a spot in the playoffs for Europa League, but it won’t be easy if they don’t fill in the gaps in the list.