Nicolai Jorgensen (Feyenoord)
Invited for trials at Liverpool in his younger days, the towering Danish forward took a rather long route to develop his career. However, as he turns 27 this month, he might be approaching his peak.
Jorgensen scored 21 goals for Feyenoord last season, helping his team to a sensational league title for the first time since 1999. He immediately became a target for Premier League clubs. The striker possesses a powerful shot, is good in the air and knows how to position himself in the penalty area.
Feyenoord were reluctant to sell in the summer, but they might be easier to persuade now that their Champions League campaign is over. Jorgensen, who netted against Shakhtar Donetsk and Napoli in Europe, is disappointed with the current standings – the Rotterdamers are fifth, 12 points behind leaders PSV. A move away looks logical.
Possible suitors: Brighton, Everton, Southampton, Swansea
Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)
This is a long shot, because Ajax won't be happy to sell their brightest young talent in mid-season, but the Amsterdamers are well prepared for De Ligt's departure in the summer having signed Perr Schuurs as his replacement. Therefore, the race for De Ligt is on.
The 18-year-old is an outstanding prospect – a technically skilled and visionary ball-playing centre-back who is tipped to become one of the best in the world in his position. Smart tactically and blessed with superb passing range, De Ligt is more refined and elegant than Davinson Sanchez, who was sold to Tottenham last summer. He’s used to playing in a back four, so Liverpool seem to be the best fit – if they're quick enough before Barcelona make a move.
Possible suitors: Liverpool
Hakim Ziyech (Ajax)
It’s somewhat surprising that 24-year-old playmaker Ziyech chose to sign for Ajax in the summer of 2016, when a lot of clubs showed interest after some spectacular performances for Twente. Ziyech was born in Holland but chose to represent Morocco and is therefore set to play at the World Cup.
His price tag, which is hefty enough already, could rise significantly if he shows his full potential in Russia – and that could be a good reason to try to purchase him in January. Ziyech is a subtle player, rather lightweight physically, but he more than makes up for that with his magnificent passing and quality dead-ball deliveries. He’s currently the second-leading assist provider in Eredivisie with eight, and should blossom under managers who put emphasis on fast transition and imagination.
Possible suitors: Bournemouth, Watford, Leicester
Yassin Ayoub (Utrecht)
This left-footed midfielder is a still relatively unknown outside of Holland, partly because he's playing for Utrecht – and that could make him a true bargain. Ayoub is an elegant and unpredictable player who loves surprising opponents with cheeky backheel passes and other unorthodox tricks.
He has a good shot from distance and likes to steal into scoring positions in the penalty area as well. The 23-year-old is also dedicated in defence. Ayoub is still inexperienced and can't be expected to make an immediate impact in the Premier League, but he should be a very good investment in the long term.
Possible suitors: Bournemouth, Newcastle, Stoke
Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar)
The Iranian wizard has been in magnificent form for AZ Alkmaar this season, contributing well beyond the eight goals and six assists which are very impressive in their own right.
Jahanbakhsh scored 11 goals in 2016/17 and was chosen as the best winger in Holland last season, but has improved even further this term. Quick, two-footed, versatile, a very good dribbler, visionary and unselfish – he’s one of the most enjoyable players to watch in the Eredivisie.
At the age of 24, he looks destined for much greater things. Jahanbakhsh is expected to play an important role for Iran at the World Cup and it's probably good timing to sign him now – but he won't come cheap, as his contract with AZ runs until 2020. Leicester should consider him a decent option to replace Riyad Mahrez if the Algerian departs.
Possible suitors: Arsenal, Leicester
Fran Sol (Willem II)
This Madrid-born striker joined the Real academy at the age of 10 and spent more than a decade at the club, never progressing further than the third team. Then, after two seasons with Villarreal reserves, Sol finally found his feet at the modest Willem II outfit from Tilburg.
He’s now feeling at home, and Willem II are negotiating a new contract to extend the current one that ends in 2019, with the player promising: "I haven't played my last game for the club."
A good offer could change that, though. Stuttgart were following the no-frills striker, who is good in the air and usually needs only one touch to score. After netting 10 goals last season, the 25-year-old improved to nine goals in just 16 appearances this term. He could be a low-budget solution for a team who desperately need someone to put the ball in the net – namely, Swansea.
Possible suitors: Swansea
Ryan Thomas (Zwolle)
Zwolle are the surprise team in Eredivisie this season, sitting fourth ahead of Feyenoord and defeated just three times in the first 18 matches. New Zealander Thomas is having fun running things in midfield.
The 23-year-old used to play on the wing, but new coach John van 't Schip, formerly of Melbourne City, moved him into a much more central role with brilliant results. Thomas's role is reminiscent of the one Aaron Mooy – who used to star for Melbourne under Van 't Schip himself – plays at Huddersfield.
Kiwis are usually well suited to the Premier League, as Winston Reid and Chris Wood are proving, and there’s a good chances that Thomas would feel comfortable as well, if expectations are reasonable. Dedicated and tactically astute, he could be ready for the big move after more than four years at Zwolle.
Possible suitors: Burnley, Huddersfield, Stoke
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