Dutch clubs have a reputation for making the most of their resources, developing talents and picking up bargains – perhaps unsurprisingly since they cannot compete on price with sides from bigger leagues. But things do not always turn out well and the Eredivisie has seen its share of flops. Here are the most notable from 2000 to 2010.
1. Danko Lazovic (2006; Partizan Belgrade to Feyenoord; €7M)
Feyenoord’s most expensive player was also their biggest ever flop, economically speaking. The Dutch side paid €7M to Partizan Belgrade for Danko Lazovic’s services, but lost a chunk of that when selling the striker on to Vitesse for €1.5M. An improved spell there led to a move from the Arnhem side to PSV Eindhoven for €6.6M, and then it was on to Zenit St. Petersburg for €5M. Apart from the deal being a financial disaster for Feyenoord, Lazovic failed to impress from the off in Rotterdam. It surely didn’t help his cause that Dirk Kuyt was exploding onto the scene at the same time – bought from Utrecht for just €1M – and later Feyenoord youth product Saloman Kalou made his presence felt too. Lazovic was also blamed for being a disruptive influence in the dressing room. When the Serbian forward left Rotterdam he declared it “the end of my worst nightmare”.
2. Albert Luque (2007; Newcastle United to Ajax; Undisclosed)
Apart from Catalan midfielder Gabri, all the Spaniards – from Juanfran to Roger, from Ismael Urzaiz to Oleguer – who have worn the Ajax shirt have disappointed. However, according to the expectations placed on his head upon arrival, Albert Luque can be counted as the biggest flop of the lot. The Amsterdam giants snapped up the Spaniard from Newcastle in the summer of 2007, and just one month later he scored a brace against VVV-Venlo; the future looked bright indeed. That though proved to be the only positive of Luque’s stay and the former Deportivo La Coruna striker soon became more famous for his love of the city’s night-life and frequent falling-outs with team-mates than his ability to find the back of the net. In 2008, Ajax asked Luque to leave, and he finally did one year later after a season-long loan at Malaga (for which the Dutch club continued to pay his extravagant salary). All told, Ajax spent €16M on Luque.
3. Bogdan Milic (2007; Buducnost Podgorica to ADO Den Haag; €650,000)
One of the less gifted players to grace the Eredivisie over the last few years, ADO Den Haag bought Bogdan Milic from Buducnost Podgorica in 2007 for €650,000. The club had sold rising star Eljero Elia to FC Twente for €200,000 just weeks before, but saw any chance of them competing in the ‘bang for the buck’ race go up in smoke with Milic; the player had poor technique, could not find the back of the net and boasted poor tactical awareness. And last but not least, Milic could not head, despite standing 2.1 metres tall. His attacking team-mates – Fabio Caracciolo, Andres Oper and Berry Powel – weren’t much better though and it has come as no surprise that ADO have continued to struggle.
4. Graziano Pellè (2007; Lecce to AZ Alkmaar; €6M)
€6M for 12 Eredivisie goals in three and a half years, at the time of writing. AZ’s most expensive ever signing, Graziano Pelle is one of former coach Louis van Gaal’s biggest mistakes in the transfer market. The Italian forward impressed the Dutch boss during two international competitions: the 2005 FIFA World Under-20 Championship and the 2007 UEFA Under-21 European Championship, both hosted in Holland. The Eredivisie however, has always looked a world apart for Pelle. He did surprisingly shake off his lethargy this season, with few rivals left in the AZ attack due to the club’s ongoing financial problems. It is too little too late though and in the summer he will head back to Italy.
5. Collins John (2008; Fulham to NEC Nijmegen; Loan)
When FC Twente sold 19-year-old Collins John to Fulham in 2004 the Dutch striker with Liberian roots looked set for glory. Despite an auspicious start – 11 league goals in the 2005/06 campaign – John failed to become a regular at Craven Cottage. After unsuccessful loan spells with English second tier sides, John moved back to Holland with NEC Nijmengen in 2008, hoping to get his career back on track. The Collins John that turned up at the McDOS Goffertstadion however, was overweight and took almost four months to make his debut for the club. John was never able to reach the level of fitness required for Eredivisie action and left NEC in March 2009, three months before his loan was up, after coach Mario Been sent him to the reserves.
Fonte: Inside Futbol