Netherlands – Eredivisie

Season 2012/2012 preview

ADO Den Haag

In:
Garry Mendes Rodriguez (midfielder, FC Boshuizen), Aaron Meijers (midfielder, RKC Waalwijk), Danny Holla (midfielder, FC Groningen), Dion Malone (defender, Almere City FC), Kevin Jansen (midfielder, Feyenoord), Kevin Tano (striker, FC Dordrecht), Rydell Poepon (striker, De Graafschap), Tom Beugelsdijk (defender, FC Dordrecht), Vito Wormgoor (defender, ADO Den Haag)

Out:
Ali Boussaboun (striker, unknown), Chiro N’Toko (defender, unknown), Christian Kum (defender, SC Heerenveen), Donny van der Dussen (midfielder, unknown), Ebi Smolarek (striker, unknown), Filip Luksik (defender, Slovan Bratislava), John Verhoek (striker, FSV Frankfurt), Lex Immers (midfielder, Feyenoord), Marc Höcher (winger, Willem II), Wouter de Vogel (midfielder, FC Den Bosch), Serhat Koksal (midfielder, unknown)

The 2010/2011 season was one of the best years in the history of ADO Den Haag. The side played attacking football and players like Wesley Verhoek and Dmitry Bulykin pushed this side to the 7th spot in the Eredivisie. A decent amount of key players left the club after that season, which was fatal for the aspirations. The side had to fight to prevent relegation football, which they just did. The 15th spot after 34 games was a decent achievement, but the fans expected more from their men. It will be the same story all over again in the upcoming season. Some regulars left the club, but the staff responded well on the transfer market. The biggest blow for this team is Lex Immers’ departure. The midfielder and local boy was a key player in the last couple of seasons, but he left the club to play for Feyenoord. Christian Kum’s switch to SC Heerenveen was another hit for the team. The ADO Den Haag staff did sell a lot of players, but all these other footballers weren’t regulars last year. The club did add some new promising players to this side though as they responded to the big departures. Vito Wormgoor played for FC Utrecht and De Graafschap in the past and he should be able to replace Kum at the back. Gabor Horvath, Christian Supusepa and youngster Kenneth Omeruo are expected to form the defence this season. The last one especially is a promising player. The 18-year old defender came over on a loan deal from Chelsea and ADO managed to keep him for another year. Jens Toornstra will have to lead the midfield. The youngster impressed the nation two years ago with his performances and his last season was more than decent. Aaron Meijers, who came over from RKC Waalwijk, could compete for a spot on the midfield and he could replace Immers. Aleksander Radosavljevic will provide the experience as ADO contains a lot of youngsters on the midfield. Another addition to this team is Danny Holla. The midfielder played for VVV-Venlo last season and he’s expected to become a regular in The Hague. Manager Maurice Steijn will have to change the attack for the new season. John Verhoek left the club, but ADO already signed his replacement. Rydell Poepon is expected to lead attack. Poepon has a lot of experience in the Eredivisie despite his age and he will look for a way to bag at least ten goals. A great amount of youngsters are hoping for a chance in the attack. Stanley Elbers, Charlton Vicento and Mike van Duinen all played matches last season, but they aren’t regulars at the moment. They have the quality to become one though, but they will have to convince the manager.

Target:
ADO Den Haag will face a tough task if the want to repeat the achievement from two seasons ago. A more realistic finishing position is a spot between places 11 and 14. The side will have to surprise to achieve that though. The staff will be more than happy if they can avoid the battle at the bottom of the table from the first match on.

Ajax

In:
Boccara (midfielder, PSG), Schone (midfielder, NEC), Cvitanich (striker, back from loan), Oliveira (midfielder, Uniao de Leiria).

Out:
Bulykin (striker, FC Twente), Lodeiro (midfielder, Botafogo), El Hamdaoui (striker, Fiorentina), Vertonghen (defender, Tottenham Hotspur),

Ajax successfully defended their championship title last season. Just like the year before they needed quite some time to find their rhythm but once they found it there was simply no stopping them. They ended their campaign on an amazing fourteen game winning streak. De Boer’s youthful squad are growing more and more mature and the manager will be very pleased with their performance over the last two seasons. He has a good core of players to build on and so far he hasn’t need to strengthen his team very much. The biggest player he has lost is captain Vertonghen. The Belgium central defender has had six good season with the Amsterdam outfit and was simply ready for a move to a bigger league. Tottenham Hotspur eventually picked him up. The defender will surely be missed in the upcoming season. Not only did he organize and lead the defense for Ajax he also got involved in quite a few attacks, actually scoring eight goals himself. For now it looks like De Boer will replace him with another player from the famous Ajax youth. Attacking midfielder Siem de Jong is the new captain and he will probably join Anita and Eriksen on the midfield. Things have been relatively quiet for Ajax during the summer. Only some fringe players left the club while they signed a few talented youngsters. A more experienced players was signed with Lasse Schone. The playmaker will surely have to fight for his spot in the team however as the competition is heavy.

Target:
Ajax will be aiming to make it three in a row. After having waited seven long years earlier, the fans wouldn’t mind celebrating the title for a third consecutive time. De Boer will be aiming to find the right flow a little earlier this season but then again with the busy schedule it might just not be possible. Mainly because they are keen to survive the Champions League group stage as well after having come so close last season.

AZ Alkmaar

In:
Berghuis (winger, FC Twente), Rosheuvel (winger, Almere City), Gorter (defender/midfielder, NAC Breda), De Winter (goalkeeper, De Graafschap), Elm (midfielder, SC Heerenveen).

Out:
Benschop (striker, Brest), Klavan (defender, Augsburg), Holman (midfielder, Aston Villa), Maenpaa (goalkeeper, VVV), Elm (defender, CSKA Moscow).

Despite their solid fourth place finish, the season ending must have left a bitter taste in the mouths of AZ players and staff. The team had played some of the best football of the Eredivisie and impressed during long periods of time. Their success broke them up however as fighting on three fronts deep into the season was simply too much for the AZ squad. Verbeek relied on a small core of players. The manager’s excellent ability to keep his team fit brought him very far but in the end they had to yield to bigger teams on all three occasions. One of the pillars in the AZ starting eleven was Brett Holman. The Australian midfielder possesses great stamina and excellent work ethic. After four seasons the tireless attacker will be moving up to Aston Villa. Replacements have been signed with Berghuis and Rosheuvel but these two still have everything to prove and it remains to be seen whether any one of them will be able to fill in the big gab left behind. The Alkmaar side is still in danger of losing three of their other big guns. Elm could still be on his way out despite the fact that his brother has joined from SC Heerenveen on a Bosman. Elm has now left. The other transfer target is youngster Maher. This Dutch prodigy was the revelation of last season and showed great promise. His performance didn’t go unnoticed and the midfielder has already been called up for the Dutch national team. His contract still runs for a couple of season however so any interested party will have to bring a big wallet. The last player to be linked with a move is captain Moisander. The defender was linked with PSV earlier and now it seems Ajax could be his next destination. Verbeek will not worry though as he has proven to be a very capable manager, especially when it comes to implementing new and young players.

Target:
Just like in the last few season the goal of the Alkmaar outfit will be to finish in a top five position. Verbeek will be forced to change things around a little but he will surely be confident that they can produce similar results as last season.

FC Groningen

In:
Maaskant (manager, unemployed), Cristovao (foward, Be Quick 1887), Magnasco (defender, Universidad Católica), Kostic (winger, Radnicki 1923), Bizot (goalkeeper, Ajax), De Leeuw (midfielder, De Graafschap), Schet (winger, RKC), Van Moorsel (midfielder, FC Den Bosch), Zeefuik (striker, PSV).

Out:
Pedersen (striker, KV Mechelen), Tadic (winger, FC Twente), Enevoldsen (midfielder, KV Mechelen), Andersson (midfielder, Midtjylland), Van de Laak (midfielder, Ajax Cape Town), Holla (midfielder, ADO Den Haag).

FC Groningen will looking for a fresh start under new manager Maaskant this season. Last year Huistra was still at the head of the Groningen campaign but after a very disappointing second season half he was let go by the staff. FC Groningen had experienced a great first season under Huistra and he started good once more in 2011 but things started to fall apart for them as the season progressed. The board probably decided that it was time for some serious changes. So Huistra was out and Maaskant has been appointed. This manager has had a couple of season of Eredivisie experience before moving abroad. He should be eager to prove himself in the upcoming campaign. Groningen has also cleaned up their squad. Several foreign fringe midfielder left the club and the Northeners have signed mostly young Dutch players in return. In the attack Zeefuik has joined them. The sturdy forward can function very well as target man. In the defense another talented player has joined them in the name of Magnasco. The only big blow the team suffered was the departure of winger and assist king Tadic. He will surely be missed. Kostic will have to replace him but this youngster is unproven still. On the right side Groningen signed winger Schet. This young talent has had a good season with RKC last year and thus earned this transfer. All in all it looks like Maaskant will have a healthy mix of talent and experience in his team and he should be able to top their disappointing fourteenth position.

Target:
FC Groningen will most likely be aiming for a top nine finish. They will want qualify for the play-offs and maybe compete on the European stage the following year. Maaskant’s job in the meantime is to build a good collective again.

FC Twente

In:
Felipe Gutiérrez (midfielder, CDUC), Alexander Bannink (midfielder, PEC Zwolle), Andreas Bjelland (defender, FC Nordsjaelland), Dusan Tadic (winger, FC Groningen), Robbert Schilder (midfielder, NAC Breda), Tim Breukers (defender, Heracles Almelo), Dmitry Bulykin (striker, Ajax)

Out:
Bart Buysse (defender, Club Brugge), Emir Bajrami (winger, AS Monaco – loan), Luuk de Jong (striker, Borussia Mönchengladbach), Mitch Stockentree (defender, FC Oss), Nick Marsman (goalkeeper, Go Ahead Eagles – loan), Ola John (winger, Benfica), Steven Berghuis (winger, AZ Alkmaar), Thilo Leugers (defender, NAC Breda – loan)

FC Twente played very well in the last four seasons, which resulted in a championship and three second places. The fans were again expecting a top three finish last year, but it all went wrong for the Enschede outfit near the end of the season. Co Adriaanse, the new manager, was sacked during the season and the new coach Steve McClaren wasn’t able to push the performances to a higher level. The 8th spot after 34 games was a huge disappointment and the play-offs for the Europa League weren’t a success at all. Twente became the lucky loser though when the UEFA decided to give them an Europa League-ticket based on the fair play classification. McClaren is still there in Enschede and he will look for a way to turn the tide. It won’t be easy at all though. Luuk de Jong, the top scorer last season, left the club to play for Borussia Mönchengladbach and another key player: Ola John joined Benfica. The club had to react to maintain the quality in the side, which is what they did at the end of the day. The most promising new signing is Dusan Tadic. The winger produces tons of assists in his two seasons at FC Groningen and Twente will need his passes to push for the top positions in the Eredivisie. Twente managed to add Dmitry Bulykin to the squad as well. The experienced striker impressed the nation at ADO Den Haag two seasons ago, but he wasn’t able to perform as a regular starter at Ajax. FC Twente will hope that he can replace De Jong. Players like Andreas Bjelland, and Robbert Schilder are decent signings as well, but they won’t push the team to a higher level. Meanwhile Douglas is still at the club. The centre-back was expected to leave the club during the Summer, but he’s still a Twente defender. Key players like Wout Brama, Nikolay Mihaylov and Peter Wisgerhof didn’t leave the team and they’re set for another season in the Grolsch Veste Stadium. It will be difficult for this side to bounce back in the 2012-2013 season to be honest. The fans are expecting a top three finish, but that could be a bridge too far. The key line will be the attack. Twente sold two key attackers and the new signings will have to perform from the first game on. The creativity on the midfield could be a problem as well. Brama and Janssen are midfielders who can cover the whole pitch, but a playmaker could boost this team. Nacer Chadli could be that player though. The Belgian international had to deal with injuries in the last season and he will be motivated to show his qualities this year.

Target:
The 8th position last season was a dreadful achievement to be honest. FC Twente should be able to perform better, but the top three could be a tough task. A top five finish will satisfy the staff.

FC Utrecht

In:
André Krul (goalkeeper, AGOVV Apeldoorn), Bob Scheepers (striker, SC Cambuur), Gianluca Nijholt (midfielder, Almere City FC), Robbin Ruiter (goalkeeper, FC Volendam)

Out:
Alje Schut (defender, Mamelodi Sundowns), Frank Demouge (striker, AFC Bournemouth), Ismo Vorstermans (defender, VVV-Venlo – loan), Junior Fernandez (goalkeeper, Racing Club), Lars Veldwijk (striker, FC Dordrecht – loan), Rob van Dijk (goalkeeper, end career), Rodney Sneijder (midfielder, RKC Waalwijk)

FC Utrecht experienced a disappointing season and the reason for that was very simple to detect. The side lost all the key players just before the start of the season and the club didn’t have the funds to respond to that. Kevin Strootman, Dries Mertens, Michael Silberbauer and Ricky van Wolfswinkel all left the club, which was a huge blow for this team. The staff did add some new players to the team, but they weren’t able to maintain the quality in the side. The club expected a lot from Alexander Gerndt, Johan Martensson and Marcus Nilsson, but they all failed to perform to be honest. Chairman Frans van Seumeren did spend a lot of money in the last couple of years, but the results were far from satisfying. The fans expected a top 8 spot, but they were never really in the race for the Europa League play-offs. It will be very difficult to top last year’s 11th spot as the club refused to sign the big names again. The staff did add some new players to the team, but they won’t push this side to a higher level. The only promising transfer is Robbin Ruiter. The goalkeeper played an excellent season at FC Volendam in the Jupiler League and he will get a chance to show his qualities on the highest level in The Netherlands, as veteran goalkeeper Rob van Dijk played his last games in his career last season. Jacob Mulenga is another player who can boost the side and he’s expected to replace Frank Demouge, who left the club to play for Bournemouth. Mulenga was already a FC Utrecht player, but a heavy injury prevented him from playing the full season. He scored seven goals in eleven appearances though and the fans expect great things from him. The rest of the team won’t contain many new names. Jan Wuytens will lead the defence again and young players like Daan Bovenberg and Dave Bulthuis will get the chance to play a full season in the Eredivisie. The midfield is a strong line, but manager Jan Wouters won’t have the resources to make a lot of changes. Nana Asare, Edouard Duplan and Johan Martensson are more than suited for the midfield, but the back-up isn’t that great. Mulenga is expected to lead the attack as mentioned before and the experienced Van der Gun will start on the left. Gerndt didn’t perform as he should in his first season at the club and he will be motivated to score more goals during the season. The squad contains a big amount of youngsters, who could make it as a FC Utrecht regular, but they will have to convince Wouters. Yoshiaki Takagi, Anouar Kali, Michael Zullo, Leon de Kogel, Mike van der Hoorn and Mark van der Maarel all played a fair amount of matches last season, but they aren’t regular starters at the moment. These players will provide competition for the better players though and one or two of them could surprise this year.

Target:
FC Utrecht showed a lot of ambition in the last couple of years, but the 11th and the 9th spot after 34 games didn’t satisfy the fans and the staff at all. It will be difficult to improve though as they failed to add quality to the side. The staff will be hoping for a Europa League play-off spot, but a top ten place will be difficult enough to reach.

Feyenoord

In:
Adil Auassar (midfielder, Excelsior – back from loan), Bart Schenkeveld (defender, Excelsior – back from loan), Daryl Janmaat (defender, SC Heerenveen), Harmeet Singh (midfielder, Valerenga IF), John Goossens (midfielder, NEC Nijmegen), Ruud Vormer (midfielder, Roda JC), Lex Immers (midfielder, ADO Den Haag), Mitchell Te Vrede (striker, Excelsior), Omar Elabdellaoui (striker, Manchester City – loan),

Out:
Daan Smith (defender, Excelsior), Dani Fernandez (defender, unknown), Darley (goalkeeper, unknown), John Guidetti (striker, Manchester City), Jordy van Deelen (defender, Excelsior – loan), Karim El Ahmadi (midfielder, Aston Villa), Kevin Jansen (midfielder, ADO Den Haag), Mats van Huijgevoort (defender, Excelsior – on loan), Otman Bakkal (midfielder, Dinamo Moscow), Ricky van Haaren (midfielder, VVV-Venlo), Shabir Isoufi (striker, Telstar – loan), Ron Vlaar (defender, Aston Villa)

Feyenoord had to deal with major financial problems during the last couple of seasons, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Ronald Koeman managed to create a great squad last season and his side performed better by the week. The number two finishing spot was one of the biggest surprises in The Netherlands last year. It will be extremely hard for Koeman to repeat his achievement in the 2012-2013 season though. Some key players left the club already and it’s always difficult to maintain the quality in the squad in that case. The biggest blow for the side is John Guidetti’s departure. The young striker came over on loan from Manchester City and he immediately became the key striker in Rotterdam as he scored 20 goals in 23 appearances. The club tried to loan him for another season, but the English club didn’t approve. Two regulars from the midfield also left the club. El-Ahmadi joined Aston Villa and Otman Bakkal made the switch to Dinamo Moscow. Feyenoord had to react to the departures, which is what they did. The staff added another player from Manchester City to their squad on a loan deal. Omar Elabdellaoui joined the team, but it isn’t clear how good he is to be honest. Norwegian international Harmeet Singh signed a contract in Rotterdam and promising Eredivisie players like Daryl Janmaat, Lex Immers, Ruud Vormer and John Goossens joined the team as well. Koeman will face a tough task because of all these switches. The quality in the side is definitely there, but the new players haven’t performed on the highest level yet. The new signings will be motivate to become a regular in Koeman’s team though and they could make a big step in their career. The defence will be a bit different. Team captain Ron Vlaar played an impressive season and he earned a transfer to Aston Villa with his performances. He will be missed in Rotterdam as he was the leader at the back. Youngsters like Bruno Martins Indi and Stefan de Vrij, who are expected to start at the back, could learn from him again. Repeating the achievements from last year is almost an impossible task, but they could impress again in Rotterdam. The players are there. Koeman will have to make them better and form a team, which could result in great things. The club is still in the race for a Champions League spot and entering that tournament would give the side another boost. The fans will look forward to a new European campaign.

Target:
Finishing second again will be extremely tough, but Koeman has the players to surprise again. The new signings will have to perform from the first game on though. A top five finish would be great for the Rotterdam team.

Heerenveen

In:
Mark Uth (striker, 1.FC Köln), Christian Kum (defender, ADO Den Haag), Gianni Zuiverloon (defender, Real Mallorca), Jukka Raitala (defender, Hoffenheim), Marten de Roon (midfielder, Sparta Rotterdam), Matthew Amoah (Mersin Idman Yurdu)

Out:
Bas Dost (striker, VfL Wolfsburg), Geert Arend Roorda (midfielder, NEC Nijmegen), Daryl Janmaat (defender, Feyenoord), Luciano Narsingh (winger, PSV Eindhoven), Michal Svec (midfielder, Slovan Bratislava), Michel Breuer (defender, NEC Nijmegen), Quenten Martinus (striker, Sparta Rotterdam – loan), René Oosterhof (goalkeeper, AGOVV Apeldoorn)

SC Heerenveen played well all season long and they even were in the race for the top spots for a very long time. They dropped a couple of points near the end of the league, which was fatal for their top three aspirations, but the 5th spot after 34 games was a great achievement to be honest. The biggest strength last year was the attack. Luciano Narsingh provided 20 assists and Bas Dost even became the Eredivisie top scorer as he bagged 32 goals in 34 games. These two players left the club after the season. Narsingh earned a transfer to PSV Eindhoven and Bas Dost signed a contract in Germany to play for VfL Wolfsburg. The rest of the outgoing transfers didn’t hit the team very hard, but the attack could be the main problem this season. Marco van Basten is the new manager in Heerenveen and he will have to form a new attack for the 2012/2013 season. Dost and Narsingh left the club as mentioned before, but Oussama Assaidi is still there. He was also one of the key attackers last season, but he isn’t able to lead the attack alone, as he will start on the left. The staff had to respond to the departures, which is what the did. Mark Uth joined the team from 1.FC Köln, but he’s a but of a question mark as he played for the reserves last year. The 20-year old could be the starting striker at the start of the season, but it will be extremely difficult for him to replace goal machine Dost. Another option is to start with Matthew Amoah. The experienced striker played in Turkey last year, but he also played for Dutch sides Vitesse and NAC Breda in the past. The 31-year old striker isn’t the fastest player on the pitch anymore. His experience could help the team though. Heerenveen also signed some new players for the other positions. Daryl Janmaat left the club to play for Feyenoord and Heerenveen signed Gianni Zuiverloon to replace him. The defender played for Heerenveen in the past and he should be able to become a regular on the right. The defence will be steady again. Ramon Zomer and Jeffrey Gouweleeuw especially are good defenders and new signing Christian Kum will bring some competition to the back line. Young players like Marten de Roon and Jukka Raitala will get the chance to show their qualities for a bigger club, but they will have to impress Van Basten to earn an regular starting spot in Heerenveen. The Europa League could be a goal as well. The fifth place earned them a ticket for the tournament, but they will have to survive two qualification rounds to earn a spot in the group stage.

Target:
The fifth position last year was great. The side played attacking and they scored a lot of goals. Repeating that achievement won’t be easy for new manager Marco van Basten. The best strikers left the club and the manager will have to form a new team. A top 6 finishing is their goal this season.

Heracles Almelo

In:
Castillion (striker, Ajax – loan deal), Koenders (defender, AZ), Dorda (defender, Greuther Furth), Paljic (defender, Wisla Krakow), Fij (goalkeeper, FC Groningen), Veldmate (midfielder, Sparta Rotterdam), Van Loo (goalkeeper, FC Groningen), Vujićević (midfielder, FC Twente).

Out:
Ter Horst (defender, Helmond Sport), Telgenkamp (goalkeeper, Cambuur), Breukers (defender, FC Twente), Looms (defender, NAC Breda), Maertens (defender, Westerlo), Van der Linden (defender, FC Emmen).

Heracles played a rather anonymous part in last year’s Eredivisie season. Where they still reached a play-off spot in the previous two year, last time around they only managed to finish twelfth. They never really came close to the play-offs as they were in the mid table throughout the season. The team did book some good successes however. First off they managed to win this year’s battle against big neighbours FC Twente, holding them to a draw at home and beating in away in Enschede. Secondly Heracles became the Cup surprise of the season after reaching the final. The fans traveled with big numbers to Rotterdam but were confronted with a far superior PSV side unfortunately. Still the supporters can look back on a solid campaign. The club as a whole will probably be pretty satisfied and should aim for a similar performance in the upcoming season. They are operating on a small budget and so far manager Bosz had exceeded expectations. He has a big job ahead of him though as three of his four regular defenders have left the club during the summer. Looms, Breukers and Van der Linden played 86 Eredivisie matches between them for the Almelo side last season and overall the numbers should be well over 500. All that experience will not be available in the upcoming year. Only youngster Rienstra remains. The good news is that the club saw it coming in advance and already secured the service of a handful of new players early in their pre-season campaign. Among them a couple of young foreign defenders but also the experienced Dutch full back Koenders. Just like in previous seasons Heracles have also signed a few promising talents. Veldmate has made a transfer from Sparta while Vujićević will join the squad from Twente. Both are midfield players.

Target:
All in all it looks like Bosz will have a decent squad at his disposal. His main job will be to rebuild the defense and secure a position somewhere in the mid table once more.

NAC Breda

In:
Sepp de Roover (defender, Lokeren – loan), Mark Looms (defender, Heracles Almelo), Thilo Leugers (midfielder, FC Twente – loan), Anouar Hadouir (midfielder, Alemannia Aachen)

Out:
Donny Gorter (defender, AZ Alkmaar), Florian Jozefzoon (winger, RKC Waalwijk), Jeffrey Sarpong (midfielder, Real Sociedad), Jimmy van Fessem (goalkeeper, unknown), Milano Koenders (defender, Heracles Almelo), Nourdin Boukhari (striker, unknown), Ömer Bayram (winger, Kayserispor), Robbert Schilder (midfielder, FC Twente), Roly Bonevacia (midfielder, Ajax), Santi Kolk (striker, Union Berlin), Stefano Seedorf (midfielder, unknown), Youssef El-Akchaoui (defender, SC Heerenveen)

NAC Breda didn’t perform well last season. John Karelse’s outfit even got involved in the bottom half of the table and they had to fight to avoid relegation football at the end of the day. The 13th spot was more than enough to secure Eredivisie football for another season, but it wasn’t satisfying for the fans, who expected more from their club, at all. There still isn’t light at the end of the tunnel though.. The Breda outfit had to deal with financial problems again, which resulted in a summer without the big signings. A lot of regulars left the club as well, which isn’t ideal during the preparation for a new season. Regulars like Donny Gorter, Milano Koenders, Robbert Schilder and Santi Kolk left the club and it won’t be easy at all for NAC to fill the gaps. The first new signing is Mark Looms. The experienced left back played for Heracles Almelo and he will become a regular in Breda. His performances won’t push this side to a higher level though. Sepp de Roover played in the Eredivisie for Sparta Rotterdam and FC Groningen and he will replace Koenders on the right. Thilo Leugers came over on a loan deal from FC Twente, but he still has to show his qualities in The Netherlands. The Breda outfit also has some potential though. Players like Alex Schalk, Nemanja Gudelj and Eric Botteghin are more experienced now and these players are capable of improving this year. It won’t be easy at all though to play for a top ten position in the Eredivisie as it could be a bridge too far. The support in the Rat Verlegh Stadium is always great, but the club didn’t have the funds to respond to the departures. The side could surprise, but a top ten spot will be extremely difficult at the end of the day. Karelse will motivate his team though and experienced players like Kees Luijckx, Jelle ten Rouwelaar and Anthony Lurling will have to lead this young and sometimes inexperienced formation. The KNVB Cup could a goal this season. The side are well-known cup fighters, but they were a bit unlucky with the draw in recent years to be honest. The motivation is definitely there and Karelse will have to look for a way to bag the points with fighting football.

Target:
NAC Breda fans are hoping for a top ten finish, but achieving that would be a miracle to be honest. A finishing spot between places 11 and 13 is the goal this season and they will have to perform from the start on to prevent a battle at the bottom of the league.

NEC Nijmegen

In:
Marcel Stutter (midfielder, SV Holzwickede), Soren Rieks (midfielder, Esbjerg FB), Danny van den Meiracker (striker, Spakenburg), Evander Sno (midfielder, RKC Waalwijk), Geert Arend Roorda (midfielder, SC Heerenveen), Michel Breuer (defender, SC Heerenveen), Stijn de Looijer (midfielder, FC Den Bosch)

Out:
Cayfano Latupeirissa (winger, FC Oss – loan), John Goossens (midfielder, Feyenoord), Lasse Schone (midfielder, Ajax), Marco van Duin (goalkeeper, Sparta Rotterdam)

NEC Nijmegen didn’t have the best of starts last season, but a decent second half of the year resulted in the 8th position after 34 games. Definitely a great achievement from Alex Pastoor’s outfit. The Nijmegen outfit managed to earn a spot in the Europa League play-offs, but Vitesse prevented them from going to the final. The side is now preparing for the new season and Pastoor will have to form a new formation as the club bought some new players. One key player also left the club, which is by far the biggest blow for this team. Lasse Schone was the leader on the pitch last season and the Danish International definitely pushed this club to a higher level during the year. He will be missed, but the staff responded to his departure. Evander Sno was one of the revelations in the Eredivisie last season and he could be one of the key players in the new NEC Nijmegen outfit. He has the quality, but he will have to earn a spot on the midfield. The rest of the important players like Gabor Babos, Bram Nuytinck and Rens van Eijden are still in Nijmegen, which is a bonus. The club also signed Michel Breuer and Geert Arend Roorda. Breuer is an experienced defender, who will compete for a spot on the left and Roorda will be motivated to show his qualities on the midfield. He has been a promising player for years now, but he hasn’t convinced the staff at his former club SC Heerenveen. He showed his qualities on loan at Excelsior though and he should be able to become a regular in the Goffert Stadium. NEC also added some players, who are relatively unknown in The Netherlands. Danny van den Meiracker came over from Topklasse side Spakenburg and Marcel Stutter is a German, who hasn’t played on the highest level yet. Soren Rieks on the other hand could be the surprise of the season for NEC. The midfielder isn’t well-known in The Netherlands, but he already played some games for the Danish national team. The biggest problem however could be the attack this season. The side scored 42 goals last season, which was by far the lowest amount in the Eredivisie top ten. Genero Zeefuik left the club and the Nijmegen team didn’t contract a big name for the attack. Players like Melvin Platje, Van den Meiracker, Leroy George and Rick Ten Voorde still have to prove everything and they will have to improve to push the attacking strength this season.

Target:
Finishing 8th again will be a difficult task for this outfit. Pastoor has the potential to surprise again, but some players will have to improve to take this side to the next level. A top ten position would be great for NEC.

PEC Zwolle

In:
Mimoun Eloisghiri (midfielder, FC Presikhaaf), Fred Benson (striker, Legia Gdansk), Giovanni Gravenbeek (defender, Willem II), Joost Broerse (midfielder, Excelsior), Mike Koenders (defender, FC Emmen), Norichio Nieveld (defender, Feyenoord), Ronnie Reniers (winger, FC Den Bosch), Sherwin Grot (midfielder, FC Presikhaaf), Wiljan Pluijm (striker, Roda JC – loan)

Out:
Said Bakkati (defender, FC Emmen), Alexander Bannink (midfielder, FC Twente), Delano van Crooy (goalkeeper, unknown), Ruud ter Heide (striker, FC Emmen), Norair Mamedov (striker, FC Emmen), Gieljan Tissingh (defender, AGOVV Apeldoorn), Nassir Maachi (striker, AEK Larnaca)

PEC Zwolle relegated to the Jupiler League back in 2004 and they have been trying to climb back to the Eredivisie since that day. The side came close in the last couple of seasons, but they just lacked some luck and quality near the end to seal the promotion. It was finally their season last year as they dominated the table from the first day on. Art Langeler’s formation definitely deserved the promotion, as they played the best football all year long. The first season back in the Eredivisie will be a tough one as usual for the new teams. PEC Zwolle won’t have the funds to buy the big names and their goal is to secure the Eredivisie spot with young players. The biggest blow for this team is Nassir Maachi’s departure. The striker was the key attacker last season and his 18 goals resulted in the promotion to be honest. The attacker signed a contract in Cyprus to play for AEK Larnaca. The new team will consist of youngsters, but the staff also managed to start the season with experience. Diederik Boer has been the starting goalkeeper for years and he should be able to perform in the Eredivisie. Joost Broerse has the Eredivisie experience as he played for teams like FC Utrecht, FC Groningen and Excelsior in the past and he could be one of the new leaders. Arne Slot was the team captain last year and he also played in the Eredivisie in the past. The 33-year old is expected to captain this side for another year. The club also bought young players, who will get the chance to perform on the highest level. Fred Benson, Giovanni Gravenbeek and Norichio Nieveld all played in the Eredivisie in the past, but they weren’t able to make the switch to better teams. This will be a new, and maybe their last chance though, and they will be fully motivated to show their abilities. PEC Zwolle will play on artificial turf this season, which could become an advantage. Most players aren’t fan of their pitch and the hosts will be used to the stadium. The home games will have to provide the most points as well. RKC Waalwijk managed to impress the nation after their promotion last season, but PEC Zwolle isn’t expected to play for the top ten spots in the Eredivisie. Avoiding relegation will be difficult enough as it is.

Target:
Avoiding direct relegation will be the target this season. The club will have to finish at least 17th to achieve that, which will be a difficult task. Finishing 16th or 17th and entering the promotion/relegation play-offs isn’t ideal though. Finishing 15th or better is a bonus and would be a massive achievement.

PSV Eindhoven

In:
Advocaat (manager, Russian national team), Narsignh (winger, SC Heerenveen), Swinkels (goakleeper, FC Eindhoven), Jorgensen (defender, FC Copenhagen), Waterman (goalkeeper, Allemania Aachen), Van Bommel (midfielder, AC Milan).

Out:
Rutten (manager, Vitesse), Labyad (midfielder, Sporting CP), Isaksson (goalkeeper, Kasimpasa), Tamata (defender, Roda JC – on loan).

PSV experienced yet another disappointing season and manager Rutten didn’t get to sit this one out as he was let go a few months from the end. It was more to please the fans than anything else as the interim managers didn’t do much better. Rutten was not the only one at fault for PSV’s poor results. It was the third time in a row that they finished on the third position, the year before this run they even ended fourth. They once again collapsed in the final and most important stage of the league. After losing a few important matches they could still finish second but even that was too muched to ask. The only highlight of the season was their KNVB Cup victory. They easily beat Heracles in the final. Most fans would have gladly traded that prize for a second place finish however. All in all the board is not panicking as they rejuvenated the squad for last season and didn’t expect immediate results. Still it must have been quite disappointing for both players and staff. All in all the team has matured and during the summer transfer manager Brands has made the final adjustments for success. A whole lot of experience has been added with the signing of manager Advocaat. The Dutch master has a long track record of successes and should lift the team to a higher level while midfielder Van Bommel will return to Eindhoven after 8 years. He will add a lot to the team for sure even at his age. Lastly talented winger Narsingh has been signed. He will have to provide the striker with decent crosses. The only loss PSV has suffered is the painful exit of Labyad. The talented young midfielder took profit from a poorly drawn up contract and had chosen to cash in abroad. The overall core of the team has been kept in tact however and has even grown stronger with the arrival of Narsingh, van Bommel and Jorgensen. The Danish defender will have to fight for a spot in the defense.

Target:
Advocaat stated at his appointment that he didn’t come to Eindhoven for anything less than the championship title. All the ingredients are there for a successful season and anything besides a number one finish will probably be a disappointment. No excuses for staff of players this time around.

RKC Waalwijk

In:
Koeman (manager, unemployed), Chevalier (forward, Zulte-Waregem), Barroilhet (forward, Fulham), Sneijder (midfielder, Ajax), Jozefzoon (midfielder, Ajax), Jungschlager (midfielder, Gold Coast United).

Out:
Brood (manager, Roda JC), Nemeth (striker, Roda JC), Sno (midfielder, NEC), Schet (winger, FC Groningen), Meijers (midfielder, ADO Den Haag), Van Hout (winger, Sparta), Fachtali (winger, Kaisar).

RKC left a big impact in their first season returning to the Eredivisie. The Waalwijk outfit managed to impress throughout the season and eventually grabbed a play-off spot by finishing in ninth position. They beat Twente in the first round but were eventually stopped by FC Twente in the finals. Still the club can look back on an excellent year. With success comes a lot of attention however and a whole bunch of regulars have left the club during the summer to move on to bigger teams. Among them success manager Brood and midfielder Meijers and Sno. This trio will surely be missed, as well as winger Schet and striker Nemeth, although the latter only played in Waalwijk since the winter break. The Waalwijk team did well to sign manager Erwin Koeman, stating their intention to become a regular force in the Eredivisie again. The manager will have to rebuild however. The club signed some young talents to strengthen the midfield. Sneijder and Jozefzoon both have Ajax backgrounds and should be additions to the squad. The staff also signed two young attackers. Experience comes in the name of Jungschlager. The midfielder has already played several season in the Eredivisie in the past and should normally feature in the starting eleven. Unfortunately he already picked up an injury in the pre-season and will miss out during the first couple of months. Koeman has stated that he still wants a couple of extra players for the team. If they can get two decent players they should be able to compete once more this year.

Target:
RKC will have to rebuild under new manager Koeman this year. It remains to be seen how strong their current squad is and therefore the board will probably be pleased if they survive this season and finish outside of the danger zone.

Roda JC

In:
Brood (manager, RKC), Nemeth (striker, Olympiakos Piraeus), Tamata (defender, PSV – on loan), Pereira (midfielder, Parma – on loan), Kurto (goalkeeper, Wisla Krakow).

Out:
Van Veldhoven (manager, Mechelen), Broekhof (defender, Cambuur), Pluim (midfielder, Zwolle – on loan), Vormer (midfielder, Feyenoord), Junker (striker, Mechelen).

Roda JC just missed out on the play-offs at the end of last season. They had every chance of qualifying but messed up a couple of home matches during the final few rounds. The club can look back on a successful season anyhow, only manager Van Veldhoven wias probably a bit disappointed not to have left the club on a higher note. Still in his four year stint at Kerkrade he has done a fantastic job. He kept them in the Eredivisie during some very trouble times and after that even managed to finish in a play-off spot a couple of times. Roda would have gladly kept him on but the Belgium decided his task was done. As often happens he moved on to a new club and took a player with him. Striker Junker will leave Roda after three successful seasons in which he scored fifty goals. Newly appointed manager Brood will also take someone from his old team with him. A striker to replace Junker. Nemeth played with Brood and RKC during the second half of the season and left a solid impression. He will probably form a nice couple with last season’s revelation and Roda top scorer Malki. Brood himself did a brilliant job with RKC after promoting to the Eredivisie last season and he should be able to further build on Van Veldhoven’s work. He will be lucky that most of the team will remain unchanged. Only Junker and key midfielder Vormer will be missed. The latter has made a move for Feyenoord. Junker can be replaced, it remains to be seen who will fill in the gab left behind by Vormer. He really made a big impact during this last season. Roda signed Pereira on a loan deal from Parma while Kurto has been brought in to fight for the position of goalkeeper with Prus.

Target:
It looks like Roda JC could be a force to be reckoned with again this season. They will not be playing for the top positions but a place in the mid table should be possible for them.

Vitesse

In:
Rutten (manager, PSV)

Out:
Van den Brom (manager, Anderlecht), Van Diermen (defender, Excelsior), Snijders (winger, Willem II).

Vitesse finished the season in a seventh position and through the play-offs they managed to qualify for the Europa League preliminaries. The Arnhem outfit has improved a lot since millionaire Jordania took over the club. The squad underwent many changes and finally seemed to have reached calmer waters last season when Van den Brom was appointed as new manager. He did a solid job in his first season but when he had the chance to leave to Anderlecht he took it with both hands. The board then signed on Rutten, who didn’t get to finish his season with PSV. Rutten is a veteran coach eager to set things straight after a handful of disappointing seasons with his old club. The good new for him is that his squad will remain virtually unchanged. They have yet to make any new signings while only some fringe players left the club. Van Diermen and Snijders did not play for Vitesse last season. The only player that could still be on his way out is left full back Buttner. He already came very close to joining Southampton before it somehow fell through. In any case his replacement is already in the squad in the name of Van Aanholt. The main strength of the Vitesse defense will lie in the heart again with captain Kashia joining up with the talented Kalas once more. In the attack Bony made quite an impact last season, even though he only scored twelve goals. If Vitesse can keep him on board he will surely exceed that number in the upcoming year.

Target:
Vitesse seem ready for the next step and should be eager to take on the sub top of the Eredivisie. Jordania’s goal of becoming champions is coming closer each season but they are not on the level of PSV and Ajax just yet. For now the board will probably be happy with a top five finish.

VVV Venlo

In:
Matheus (defender, Coritiba), Guus Joppen (defender, Helmond Sport), Jeffrey Altheer (defender, Helmond Sport), Jules Reimerink (winger, Energie Cottbus), Marcel Seip (defender, Bradford City), Niclas Heimann (goalkeeper, Red Bull Salzburg), Niki Mäenpää (goalkeeper, AZ Alkmaar), Oguzhan Turk (midfielder, SC Cambuur), Ricky van Haaren (midfielder, Feyenoord)

Out:
Dennis Gentenaar (goalkeeper, Almere City FC), Ferry de Regt (defender, Helmond Sport – loan), Ken Leemans (midfielder, Hansa Rostock), Michael Uchebo (striker, Cercle Brugge)

VVV-Venlo finished 17th in the 2010-2011 season and it was the same story all over again last year. The side didn’t have the quality to play for the top 12 in the Dutch Eredivisie and they were battling to avoid relegation football all season long. They were in the race for the 15th spot for a very long time, but the 16th place after 34 games was deserved to be honest. The promotion/relegation play-offs almost resulted in a huge disaster but the Venlo outfit secured the Eredivisie spot with dramatic wins over SC Cambuur and Helmond Sport. VVV-Venlo’s chairman already spoke about his ambitions for the upcoming seasons, but it will be extremely difficult for this side to turn the things around. The away games for example are a big problem for this team, as they only collected three points away from home last season. The staff managed to buy some young exciting players though, but these signings have everything to prove. The biggest departure however is Michael Uchebo. The Nigerian striker scored four goals last year and he will be missed. Uchena Nwofor is now expected to take over, just like he did in the second half of the season. The experienced goalkeeper Dennis Gentenaar left the club as well, but the staff managed to sign two new goalies. Maenpaa and Heimann will fight for the starting spot. Yannick Wildschut was the best striker in the last campaign and he could push this side to a higher level with his performances again. Jules Reimerink came over from Energie Cottbus and he will finally get a chance to show his qualities in the Dutch Eredivisie. Players like Guus Joppen, Ricky van Haaren and Jeffrey Altheer could become regulars in Venlo, but they haven’t played many matches in the Eredivisie yet. The staff will expect a lot from Van Haaren though. The youngster came close to a regular starting spot at Feyenoord and he will be fully motivated to show his skills on the midfield. Joppen and Altheer came over from Helmond Sport. Marcel Seip will bring some experience to this side. The centre-back played for SC Heerenveen in the past, but he played for many English clubs in the lower divisions in the last couple of seasons. He could lead the defence though. The biggest question mark at the moment is Maya Yoshida. The Japanese international was by far the best defender last season, but it isn’t clear whether he will stay at this club or not. The defender is playing with Japan at the Olympics at the moment and a switch to another club wouldn’t be a surprise at all in august. VVV-Venlo would get a real boost if he decides to stay. The chairman will hope for a better starting position next season, but that seems like a mission impossible to be honest. The club did sign some promising players, but they failed to buy a big name like Keisuke Honda in the past.

Target:
Avoiding the promotion/relegation play-offs is the main goal this season, but achieving that will be extremely difficult. The side will have to perform better in the away games to have a chance. Clubs like Willem II and PEC Zwolle are their opponents at the bottom of the table. Securing the Eredivisie spot is the mission again.

Willem II

In:
Snijders (winger, Vitesse), Jallo (defender, Heracles Almelo), Haastrup (defender, Helmond Sport), Hocher (midfielder, ADO Den Haag), Brands (midfielder, Telstar), Peters (defender, FC Den Bosch), Van Buuren (defender, FC Den Bosch).

Out:
Martens (midfielder, Veendam), Janga (winger, Excelsior), Gravenbeek (midfielder, FC Zwolle), Van Zaanen (winger, Almere City), Kolsi (midfielder, Celje), Swinkels (defender, Lierse).

After having played one year in the Jupiler League, Willem II will compete once more in the Eredivisie for the 2012/2013 season. For a long time it did not look like they would bounce back. Under new manager Streppel the team had to be rebuild last summer and as a result they didn’t get off to the best start. Despite having one of the best squads in the league they found themselves back in the mid table at times. In the end they did finish in the fifth position and as a result entered the play-offs for promotion. After beating Sparta in two close games they met up with Den Bosch in the finals. After an away draw they finished the job at home with a victory. The board immediately took action and strengthened the squad as they will have to step up in order to avoid immediate relegation again. Captain Swinkels left for Lierse but Willem II replaced him by signing no less than four new defenders. On the midfield Hocher already joined them during the winter break on a loan deal but he has now been officially signed. With Brands they signed another midfielder. All in all there won’t be too much changes in the Willem II side but Streppel will probably still be looking to add another attacker as they are a little light up front.

Target:
Willlem II will be happy if they stay up this season. They don’t have the financial means to immediately distance themselves from the relegation candidates but as other teams have pointed out in the recent years. Money is not everything in the Eredivisie and the club should be confident.