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Luis Suarez: Another Bergkamp/van Nistelrooy Or Kezman/Babel?

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The Dutch first division, and Ajax in particular, have produced some of the players and teams that will live long in the memory of many football fans. The Oranje rank amongst the most respected footballing countries in the world, and have done since they revolutionised the game with ‘Total Football’. However, Dutch football has taken a turn for the worst over the last decade or so, demonstrated by the style of football their national team used to get them to the final of this summers World Cup. The ‘anti-football’ approach they adopted was far from the iconic teams of the eighties. Despite the glorious connotations that go with Dutch football, the Eridivisie is a long way off being a true force in Europe, and has been for some time.

With rumours being rife of Luis Suarez being lined up as the first signing of the NESV revolution at Liverpool, I have found the excitement of this prospect somewhat questionable. Having not seen the player in action excessively, it is difficult for me to have a concrete opinion on the matter. It is encouraging to see Liverpool once again seriously attempting to buy players who are seen to be the hottest properties in football right now, and there is rarely a bad word said about the Uruguayan. Along with his scoring record for Ajax, I know I should be excited about the possibility of Liverpool capturing Suarez’s signature. However, recent history has taught us to be sceptical of any Eridivisie hot-shot strikers making a direct switch to the Premier League. Here are a few who have made the switch, for better or for worse:

Dirk Kuyt

Feyenord 101 (70)

Liverpool 158 (40)

Kuyt was brought into Liverpool by Rafael Benitez as the answer to Liverpool’s goalscoring problems. Judging by his tremendous record with Feyenord, Benitez had spent his money wisely. However, Kuyt was found terribly wanting in front of goal, and was soon switched to the right wing where his stamina and determination were seen to be more effective. Overall, Kuyt has been a successful signing, though sadly not as a goalscorer.

Ryan Babel

Ajax 73 (14)

Liverpool 91 (12)

Babel was another brought to Liverpool by Benitez, however, it is difficult to come to a conclusion as it’s fair to say he never fulfilled his potential at Ajax, and was brought to Liverpool for the future. It was his lack of intelligence which has deemed Babel a failure in my opinion, as he does possess all the right ingredients to be a top Premiership player, unfortunately he can’t put them all together.

Van Nistelrooy

PSV 67 (62)

Man Utd 150 (95)

Ruud Van Nistelrooy is the only Dutch import that in my mind, that can be categorised as a truly successful goalscorer. Although his goals to games ratio in Holland was far better, he found his natural goalscoring instinct trasnlatable to the Premier League. Something many others have failed in doing.

Dennis Bergkamp

Ajax 185 (103)

Arsenal 316 (87)

It would be laughable to try and criticise as the signing of Dennis Bergkamp by Arsene Wenger, as he is one of the finest players to ever play in England. However, his scoring record exemplifies the gulf in class between the two leagues, and though Bergkamp made up for this in other ways, he never lived up to the record he set in Holland.

Mateja Kezman

PSV 122 (105)

Chelsea 25 (4)

Kezman is a great example of a talented striker that just couldn’t adapt to the English game. The amount of games played in England, says as much as the amount he scored. Four goals in twenty five games for Jose Mourinho’s side wasn’t enough, and without the industry of a player like Kuyt, or the intelligence of a player like Bergkamp, he was always going to find it difficult to find a place in Mourinho’s powerful team.

Alfonso Alves

Herenveen 39 (45)

Middlesborough 42 (10)

Although playing for a team battling relegation, his record of more than a goal a game for Herenveen is phenomonal. Yet again, Alves was another player expected to solve Middlesborough’s goalscoring problems, though found the English game too difficult to transfer his ability to. Given time at a top club, this may have been a different story. Unfortunately, he just offers more proof of the the size of the task at hand for players making this switch.

I think these statistics prove the excitement at the prospect of signing Suarez might be misplaced. Let’s hope, if the deal goes through, he proves me wrong.

Submitted by Some Team Up North

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