6 Eredivisie bargains who would be perfect for Premier League clubs
4. Mimoun Mahi (Groningen)
- Mimoun Mahi scored 17 goals from 30 Eredivisie starts in 2016/17
Groningen is a fertile breeding ground for talented players, despite their relatively small stature. The likes of Arjen Robben, Luis Suarez, Dusan Tadic and Virgil van Dijk all turned out in the white-and-green before taking a higher step in their career.
When Mimoun Mahi arrived at Groningen in the summer of 2014 from Sparta Rotterdam, he was considered one of the greatest talents of Belgium's Jupiler League. Mahi’s first two seasons in Erwin van de Looi’s 4-3-3 saw a stalling in his progression.
This season, with Ernest Faber in charge, Groningen have been more expansive and open, which has enabled the likes of Mahi and Bryan Linssen to flourish at the other end of the pitch. Mahi, in particular, has been able to showcase his ability to play anywhere along the front-line, as he has been used on the left wing, but truly thrived in a central role.
The 23-year-old has shown a deadly ability to score from close-range this season, but also scored a sumptuous goal against Zwolle, where he curved the ball into the far top corner from outside the box.
Mahi has improved on his ability to twist and turn away from defenders, being equally comfortable on either foot now - although he does rely on his right more when shooting.
The player agreed to extend his contract with Groningen until 2019 in March, but has been outspoken about his desire to leave the club this summer. When enquired about a move by Voetbal International, Mahi said he would not mind a move to one of the traditional top three, but was also open to moves abroad. “Spain plays my kind of football, but I think I would fit well in England too."
5. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ)
As much as he provides goals from the right wing, Jahanbakhsh also possesses exceptional play-making abilities in finding his teammates with his through-balls
AZ’s flying right winger first appeared in Holland as a relatively obscure signing made by NEC Nijmegen in 2013. The Iranian had been recommended on the basis of some excellent performances for his club Damash Gilan, as well as the Iran U19 side.
In the summer of 2015, Brighton were very interested in signing NEC’s star player and even had a bid accepted, but Jahanbakhsh could not agree personal terms. He did not believe himself to be well-suited to Championship football at the time and also rejected German and Swiss clubs, wanting to advance his skills in the Eredivisie. AZ Alkmaar swooped in and convinced Jahanbakhsh to sign for them, where he replaced the Watford-bound Steven Berghuis.
As much as he provides goals from the right wing, Jahanbakhsh also possesses exceptional play-making abilities in finding his teammates with his through-balls. The 23-year-old has remarkable footwork and, at times, is reminiscent of a young Angel Di Maria. Before getting injured in the first leg of a Europa League play-off versus Utrecht, Jahanbakhsh had scored or assisted a goal in seven of his last nine appearances for AZ.
English media have linked Watford, Bournemouth and Burnley with Jahanbakhsh and, if a move does materialise, one would hope he finds more success in England than other AZ exports have recently.
6. Kenny Tete (Ajax)
It's a peculiar situation in Amsterdam currently that Ajax could start the season with neither of last season's right-backs still at the club. Despite being cast aside by Peter Bosz in favour of Joel Veltman, Tete chose not to follow Anwar El Ghazi and Riechedly Bazoer out of the club, despite having Mino Raiola as his agent and having already been offered to Juventus last summer.
His solid tackling and interceptions allowed the young Dutch side to hold on to precarious aggregate leads
The 21-year-old waited for his chance and proved crucial in the latter stages of Ajax’s Europa League run, when his solid tackling and interceptions allowed the young Dutch side to hold on to precarious aggregate leads, especially away from home.
Even if Veltman won the battle for Bosz’s favour, Kenny Tete would probably suit English footballer better. The Dutch international is physical, but knows how to use his strength, and is one of the finest pure tacklers in Dutch football.
While sporting director Marc Overmars did note in April that Tete did not see a future for himself at Ajax, Bosz’s departure and the potential of Veltman’s departure might open the door for Tete to stay. Yet given Tete’s contract - like Veltman’s - runs out in 2018, it weakens Ajax’s negotiating position and clubs may be able to get either defender for an extremely reasonable price.