Eion Smith shares with us his views on the most exciting front line in football today – and it’s not one that you would expect…
PSV Eindhoven is a true powerhouse in Holland. 21 time Eredivisie winners, this is a club that has been represented by true greats of the football world such as Ronaldo (the Brazilian one), Romario, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ruud Gullit. They dominated Dutch football in the early-mid 2000s but have not been champions since 2008. Managers have come and gone since then but now club legend Philip Cocu has move into the hot seat and, despite moving on Dries Mertens and Jeremain Lens, has the most exciting front line in football to hopefully propel him to glory. Lets meet some of them.
First up we have the new captain of PSV, Georginio Wijnauldum. At just 22 and already a full Dutch international, Wijnauldum is one who could soon be on the move to a bigger league. A versatile player who can play behind the striker or on the wing, he contributed 14 league goals last season as well as a number of assists. He is a clever player with lightning quick acceleration and speed and is a constant menace to the backline. He is technically very good and, for a number 10, does enjoy to run in behind the defence. Incredibly, he only cost PSV £5 million from Feyenoord in 2011 and it makes you wonder why nobody else picked him up.
On the left hand side we find the 19 year old homegrown replacement for Dries Mertens – Memphis Depay. Joining PSV at the age of 12, Depay quickly worked his way through the youth ranks before debuting towards the end of the 2011-12 season. He managed 3 goals in 8 games that season which just indicates the talent of this young man. He is a very quick player with outstanding close control and dribbling abilities and like most wingers has about 1000 different ways to turn a defender inside out. Depay is also capable of playing as a central striker and has been involved with the Dutch under 21 side recently. He is certainly one to look out for in the near future.
On the right is another young Dutchman, Luciano Narsingh. Signed from Herenveen last summer, Narsingh was being lined up by Fulham before he moved to Eindhoven. Despite playing in only 18 league games last season, he still grabbed 6 goals and impressed with his speed and dribbling skills. Like everyone else featured, he is a technically brilliant player and is another who has already played for the Dutch national side. Many tipped Narsingh to move to a bigger league last summer and don’t be surprised if you see him do so in the near future.
Up front, PSV possess one of the best striking talents in the world in 19 year old Jurgen Locadia. The 6’3″ striker only made his debut last season and made an immediate impact in his Eredivisie debut. He scored a hat trick against VVV-Venlo and this was despite only coming as a substitute with just over 20 minutes to go. This hadn’t been done in Holland since 1969 and thrust Locadia into the public consciousness. He is a big, powerful unit but has also got a wonderful touch on him. He is also a very good finisher and, at just 19, looks to be one for the future.
Another exciting prospect is 17 year old Belgian Zakaria Bakkali. Bakkali is another joined the club at a young age and has progressed through the ranks rapidly. He only made his debut this season but is already impressing from the start. He is physically small but still has some growing to do yet but has beautiful close control and dribbling ability. He is also surprisingly difficult to knock off the ball and glides past opponents with remarkable ease. If he continues the way he is going then don’t be surprised when big clubs from around Europe come calling. This young lad has all the ability in the world.
PSV also posses further attacking options in Tim Matavz, Ola Toivonen and Florian Jozefzoon. Matavz is a Slovakian international striker who is a consistent goal scorer in the Eredivisie. He has hit 20 goals in all competitions in both of his seasons at the club. Toivonen is a Swedish international who has been PSV’s most consistent goal threat in the last few years. He is well noted for his outstanding aerial ability. New signing Jozefzoon is an electric quick winger who can make an impact off the bench.
That is just an overview of the most exciting front line in football. However, reading about them does not do them justice. Therefore I would encourage you to watch them if you can. There you will be impressed by their confidence and bravery on the ball and their sheer ability. This is a front line that could propel PSV to the glories of old if they can stay together. But for now, I will enjoy watching them for as long as I can.
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