Double Dutch: The Dutch players Liverpool should look at closely

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Jack Hallows believes that Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum should get in the ears of some of their international team mates to come to Liverpool. 

Liverpool’s bond with Dutch players has never been quite as prominent as with certain other nationalities – particularly Spanish, I miss you Xabi Alonso!

The signing of Dirk Kuyt over a decade ago was previously the only real success story in the Reds’ history with Dutch footballers but more recent times have seen that changed big time.

Both of Klopp’s Dutch signings, Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum, are nailed on starters at this point in time and the former is arguably his side’s most important player.

Both also possess great responsibility in their national side, with VVD recently bestowed the honour of captaining the Netherlands while Wijnaldum seems to go to another level when representing the Oranje.

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While the Dutch missed out on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, the appointment of Ronald Koeman as manager has brought about a changing of the guard and with it, a host of young, talented future stars to get excited about.

If I was Jürgen Klopp, I’d be focussing on these three in particular!

Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)

The fact that this kid is still 19 years old still completely breaks my brain.

Matthijs de Ligt is one of Europe’s hottest young talents right now and it’s easy to see why.

The emergence of 21-year old Joe Gomez as Liverpool’s first-choice starting centre half and a mainstay in the starting XI has been one of Klopp’s greatest success stories during his time on Merseyside.

The Englishman has enjoyed one hell of a rise so far this campaign, ousting Dejan Lovren and seemingly forcing Joël Matip to rethink his future at the club but it can be argued that if de Ligt were to join the club, he’d be given some genuine competition.

The 19-year old already has a remarkable 74 matches of first-team experience at Ajax – one of those a Europa League final against Mourinho’s Manchester United as a 17 year old in 2017 – and boasts 10 international caps playing alongside, you guessed it, Virgil van Dijk.

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The pair have already formed an impressive partnership for their national side and I would not be opposed to seeing that exact duo being given a run out in Liverpool red.

On de Ligt as a player, he’s tall (6’2), fantastic on the ball and has an impressive eye for goal, scoring 7 goals in 74 appearances for Ajax – a solid return for a centre half.

Even if he were to be signed and didn’t immediately challenge Joe Gomez neck and neck for the spot alongside Virgil van Dijk, the Dutchman would certainly represent an upgrade on Matip and arguably Lovren too while still being young enough for Klopp to continue to develop his game.

He’ll cost an arm and a leg but paying that amount of money for a talent like this.. it’s a no brainer for me.

Frenkie de Jong (Ajax)

If de Ligt is one to absolutely snap up immediately, then Frenkie de Jong is at very least one to keep an eye on as he continues to develop.

The 21-year old can operate as both a centre back or in his preferred role as a central midfielder and has been causing a real stir among football fans Europe-wide due to his performances for both Ajax and the national side.

Personally, I don’t have quite as much of an understanding of de Jong’s game as I do the other two players mentioned in this article but from what I have seen, I can understand why Manchester City and Tottenham are so desperate to sign him for a potentially eye watering £60m.

A crisp passer of the ball who is becoming renowned for starting attacks from deep, de Jong prefers to keep his passes short, participating in neat, knitted interplay rather than hoofing raking balls left, right and centre – something that is desperately needed more of in Liverpool’s midfield.

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He’s also a smart tackler and on the two recent occasions I’ve watched him – against France for the Netherlands and Feyenoord for Ajax – he’s been superb, winning what looked to be all of his challenges.

It’s probably the least likely one to ever happen given City’s interest and the fact that Liverpool have already got three options to operate as a ‘6’ in our midfield but I wouldn’t say no if he suddenly showed up on Melwood’s doorstep Fabinho style.

Memphis Depay (Lyon)

Yes, he’s played for Manchester United.

Get over it.

I felt for Depay at United. He arrived to a tonne of fanfare – mostly because it seemed that the Red Devils had stolen him from the grips of Liverpool – and was awarded the iconic no.7 shirt previously donned by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham.

The Dutchman was phenomenal for PSV during his Eredivisie days, scoring an incredible 22 league goals in 30 appearances at 20 years of age during the 14/15 season leading to – albeit premature – labels of ‘the next CR7’ for his free kick taking ability, pace and trickery.

It all went wrong at United though and he was sold to Lyon after just 18 months and 7 goals for the club.

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Depay has found a new lease of life at the French club rotating between playing as a left winger and a central striker, generally operating in close proximity to previous Liverpool target Nabil Fekir and contributing an immense 33 goals and 31 assists since joining.

That’s 64 goal contributions 87 games while also scoring 8 times for the Netherlands in 15 appearances in that time.

An adept set piece taker, Depay would be an awesome addition to Liverpool’s attacking ranks due to his ability to operate through the middle, on the left or even as a second striker/’10.’

His average of 3.5 key passes per 90 for both club and country this season, along with his remarkable assist tally over the last two years for Lyon suggest he’d also be more than capable of ending Liverpool’s issues with creativity.

Depay has previously been criticised for having issues with his attitude and being overly self-critical, allowing poor performances to derail an entire season but former Netherlands Under-21s coach Cor Pot – who worked heavily alongside Depay in his younger years – has recently put those fears to bed.

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He’d cost a lot of money – especially given how Liverpool potentially buggered up their relationship with Lyon in the summer just gone – but boy he’d be worth it if Klopp could get the best out of him.

The Reds have ‘struggled’ to really hit the attacking heights they managed in the latter half of the 2017/18 season and a signing like Depay would not only spark new life into their attack but also provide extra competition for places.

To have five attacking options in Shaqiri, Firmino, Salah, Mané and Depay would be so deadly you could almost ask for it to be made illegal.

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