Back to earth after the Dick Scheringa era – one which brought the Eredivisie title to the club in 2009, but also sent it close to bankruptcy after the DSB Bank collapsed just four months later – AZ are patiently learning to stand alone again without a big money backer. Some key players have already left the team, such as striker Mounir El Hamadaoui and midfielder David Mendes da Silva, while others like Moussa Dembele and Sergio Romero could follow at any time. However, hope comes in the form of new coach Gertjan Verbeek who has enjoyed a top notch pre-season, beating Red Bull Salzburg, Fenerbahce, Anderlecht and, in the Europa League preliminary round, IFK Gothenburg. The arrival of gifted midfielder Erik Falkenburg from Sparta Rotterdam will add invention to an already solid midfield.
Key arrivals: Dirk Marcellis (PSV); Erik Falkenburg (Sparta Rotterdam); Nick Viergever (Sparta Rotterdam); Charlison Benschop (RKC Waalwijk)
Key departures: David Mendes da Silva (Salzburg); Jeremain Lens (PSV); Mounir El Hamdaoui (Ajax); Kees Luyckx (NAC Breda)