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07-26-2007, 08:39 AM
  #57
Ajacied
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Netherlands
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Alright, it's nearly been a year since I posted my top 50 list. I'll start working on a new one. Not sure if I will make another one with 50, but I'll start off with the first few.

The graduate date will still be 1984, as per Helicecopter's request. I have, however, dropped all the unexperienced youngsters from the list. No Anita, Sarpong and the likes. Despite their enormous potential, it is extremely hard to place them between the likes of Sneijder and Vlaar, who have been around for years now. Players grow and not always develop as planned. So Vurnon Anita, #1 on my list last time, will not be on it. Same goes for many of his age companions.

New style, new info, new youtube clips; here goes, the first 10:

Number definition:

10 - Once in a life time player
09 - Superstar
08 - Great/Star
07 - Good player, comes up short for greatness.
06 - Above average/useful player
05 - Average player
04 - Below average player
03 - Mediocre player
02 - Not a professional calibre talent
01 - You're in the wrong sport, my friend.


Grade definition:

A - Sure fine bet to reach potential/Already is.
B - Nearly having furfilled his potential
C - Need seasoning before reaching potential/to bigger league.
D - Needs to proof himself more/Unlikely to reach potential
E - Problem child


01) Wesley Sneijder (Holland/Ajax/AM/'84) 9.0A



History:

Well, he's been around for a while now and has continuesly been in the top 3 of my prospect lists, but he's just coming of a break-through season I didn't even think he was capable of right now. Hence, he's now numero uno on my list.

Pro's
  • Definition of two footed.
  • Lethal from long distance. Killer shot with both his left and his right.
  • Quick in everything he does. Turning, running, finding openings.
  • Versatile (DM/CM/AM/LM/RM)
  • Owns a great pass/cross. Also making him a lethal player from set plays.
  • Game dictator.
  • Extremely experienced for his age (150 Eredivisie games, 35 caps, WC and EC).
  • Very clutch. Comes up big in big games.
  • Has a great technique, and only uses it when need be. He continues to get smarter.

Con's
  • Loses his temper easily.
  • Used to be a problemchild in the lockerroom.
  • Short in stature.
  • Not a good header due to his size

Future:

Sneijder is coming off the best season of his career. With 18 goals and 7 assists he was undoubtedly the best player of the Eredivisie last year. He was easily a top 10 midfielder in the world. All that's left is a move abroad and start proving himself for an even bigger club. There is not a doubt in my mind that Sneijder will succeed wherever he goes as his skillset is just too deep and impressive not to. He'll quickly take the world by storm just like he did in Holland. He'll luckily remain another year in Amsterdam before (likely) leaving to either Barcelona, Madrid or Valencia.



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02) Urby Emanuelson (Holland/Ajax/LB/'86) 9.0B



History:

Was 3rd on my list last year, but only because Anita was number one or else he would have been second there as well. Bursted onto the scene in 2004/2005 and has rapidly developed into one of, if not the most promessing left back in the world. His sophmore season went outstanding. Contributing significantly with 3 goals and 3 assists in 31 games.

Pro's
  • First touch is amazing.
  • Great technique.
  • Is pretty fast
  • His shot is his secret weapon, but doesn't uses it enough.
  • Is usually all over the left flank. He has a lot of energy.
  • Can play LB, LM and LW.
  • Always wants to go forward. There's always action when he has the ball.
  • Very sober person who enjoys the game.
  • Experienced. Already has 6 caps under his belt, despite playing a crowded position. U21 European Champs with Oranje and named best left back.

Con's
  • Needs to toughen up physically.
  • His offensive urge can leave defensive holes at times.
  • Somewhat inconsistent defensively. Can be a real beast or leave holes that make you wanna go hmmm. I blame age.
  • Sometimes can be too enthousiastic when going forward. Doesn't know when to stop.
  • Like Sneijder, not a good header

Future:

Emanuelson is already Holland's top left back at the age of 20, so his future looks to be extremely bright. There's no reason why he won't start for an elite club in Europe at some point as he has the potential to be the best at his position someday. I expect him to play for Ajax another year or two before making the big move abroad.



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03) Ismael Aissati (Holland/PSV/CM-AM/'88) 9.0C



History:

Once pegged as world's greatest 17 year old talent, Aissati has played under heavy pressure ever since. Playing under Ronald Koeman has not helped that, btw. Koeman is known for taking little risks and always prefers experience over youth. Hence Aissati was loaned out to Twente for the second half of last season. That move nearly bite Koeman in the ass as Aissati carried Twente to UEFA Cup football, while PSV blew it's 11 point lead.


Pro's
  • Just controls the game to his likings.
  • Very calm and firm on the ball and never panics. You can just sit back and relax when he has it as you know he'll do something (positive) with it.
  • Accurate in everything he does, especially passing.
  • Doesn't shoot often, but when he does, it's usually money in the bank.
  • Can play DM, CM and AM and cover up much of midfield.
  • Always open. Loves to dictate the game.
  • Like Emanuelson, he's a very sober person who enjoys the game.
  • Youngest player during the EC U21 in 2006, yet, was still named best AM.

Con's
  • Isn't very fast. Though in his defense, he never puts himself in a position that requires a lot of speed.
  • Very shy individual. Could be more vocal and toughen up.
  • Rather small in stature.
  • Needs to get a big role next year or his progression might stall.

Future:

Ismael Aissati will be a superstar someday, I know that much. Whether he will chose for Oranje or for the country of his parents (Marocco) that's still up in the air, but expect to be informed in the near future. Will head back to PSV next year where he has a lot of competition (Perez, Mendes, Afellay), he blows them all out of the water in terms of talent but Koeman will likely prefer the elderly. You are able to see Aissati perform his tricks in the Eredivisie for at least two more years before he'll move abroad. My gut says it will be AC Milan. Aissati's potential is huge. Being the best of his position someday is definitely not out of the quesion.



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04) Royston Drenthe (Holland/Feyenoord/LB-LM/'87) 9.0C



History:

Was 28th on my list last year, but that was when he had little to no Eredivisie experience. I just had to include him due to his potential. Now that we're a season further in development, he's suddenly in my top 5. I think that says a lot about his huge upside. Drenthe has an impressive rookie season for Feyenoord and did not do under for the hype. It was the EC U21 where he really introduced himself to the world of football, though. Drenthe was named tournament MVP as Oranje took home the gold for the second consecutive time.


Pro's
  • He's a warrior. He works extremely hard and makes a lot of meters.
  • His technique is already world class. Controls balls as if they stick to his kicks. Not afraid to show off, either.
  • Always gets by his man. Whether it's perseverance or skill, he just will get by you. He's very driven.
  • Very accurate cross.
  • Very fast.
  • Thinks forward. Very creative.
  • All-round. Prefers to play either LB or LM, but can litterly play anywhere in the field.
  • Very mature and wise for his age. You should listen to his interviews. He's fantastic.
  • Named 2006 Toulon tournament MVP (Oranje second).
  • Named EC U21 MVP (Oranje first).
  • If you thought Emanuelson made a lot of meters on the left flank, then you haven't watched Royston. I once saw him deke out 3 players and shoot it at the goalie. A counter attack was inevitable, as the opponents came out right away and had a huge chance of their own just seconds later, only to be stopped by, indeed; Royston Drenthe, who actually conquered the ball as well.
  • Typical 'Fan favorite' character. He once run so much during a game that he had to be taken off (cramps) by a stretcher. Received a huge ovation from the crowd as Drenthe stuck up his thumbs.

Con's
  • Still a very raw player.
  • Can be overenthousiastic at times.
  • Actually needs to stop running so much. He often plays out of position because of it and requires his teammates to alter.
  • Needs to polish his defensive game a bit. In terms of defensive skills, he's got it all. He's fast, strong, tackles like a mofo, but he still makes wrong decisions at times. He misjudged a ball during the playoffs vs Groningen which actually costed Feyenoord to miss UEFA Cup football.
  • There's a lot of pressure on him right now. Interesting to see how he will deal with that.

Future:

Royston has a lot of attention right now due to his awesome performances at the EC U21. With Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea all trying to land his signature, I think it's safe to say that Royston will play for an elite European club someday. I don't think he's even near his potential though. The kid is so driven that he will never be satisfied. I fully expect Drenthe to be #1 on my list in the near future and he is the only prospect on my list who could ever deserve a 9.5.



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05) Ryan Donk (Holland/AZ/CB/'87) 9.0C



History:

Donk was still an honorable mention on my previous list. Altough he had barely played any games at the time. After an impressive season for AZ and an even more impressive EC U21 tournament, it's time for me to pay him the credit that he deserves. Deemed by Foppe de Haan, one of the most respected coaches in Dutch football, to be the next Jaap Stam, but better.

Pro's
  • A beast in the air. Donk wins most of his air-battles.
  • One of the most athletic defenders you'll see. He's very tall, yet very fast, strong and intercepts easily.
  • For a defender with such great defensive skills, he has remarkeble offensive skills. Can build up attacks and has a nice cross.
  • Has a very calm personality.
  • Personal enemy of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. The two have fought out interesting battles. Video below.
  • Very mature and wise for his age.
  • Has little to no flaws in his game for a CB.

Con's
  • It's going fast with his career. Needs to life up to expectations now.
  • Still makes some rookie errors here and there.
  • Needs to grow more widith.

Future:

AZ has an eye for talent, that's why no one questioned Ryan Donk. He was one of the most impressive CB's of the Eredivisie this year and was IMO Oranje's best player during the EC U21 just a few months ago. Donk has all the attributes to become an elite defender someday. I'm not doubting Foppe de Haan on his judgement. Donk will be the cornerstone for the Dutch on defense in the near future.



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06) Ryan Babel (Holland/Liverpool/LW-S/'86)9.0B



History:

Seems like Ryan has been around for years now, but he's actually only 20 years old. Had a great rookie season, poor sophmore season due to playing LW, but came back very strong this year. With 5 goals and 5 assists, Babel was a vital part of Ajax this year. He also had a decent EC U21. Recently moved to Liverpool for nearly 20 million Euro's, a record for an Ajax product.

Pro's
  • Has Martins-esque legs. Very fast and strong.
  • Impressive technique
  • Has a canon of a shot, albeit inconsistent.
  • Very smart in his finishing.
  • Physically outstanding. Wins a lot of battles. Actually defends well.
  • Is a great header.
  • Loves to dribble, often with succes.
  • Very driven.
  • Somehow makes you sit on the edge of your seat. Always a threat.
  • Can play LW/RW/AM/S. He's versatile.
  • Back to back EC U21 champs with Oranje.
  • Already has 14 caps under his belt. Has WC, CL and UEFA Cup experience.

Con's
  • One footed. Does little damage with his left.
  • Predictable as a left winger, though he is improving.
  • First touch still needs some work.
  • Deemed as a cocky personality.

Future:

You don't need to be a rocketscientist to see why Ryan Babel is deemed as the next Thierry Henry. Even if he won't succeed at that, Babel's skillset and physical attributes will still make him a valueble presence for every club. He's still a little bit of a diamond in the rough to me. With a little bit more polishing, Babel can become as good as he wants to be as his skills and physical attributes really do not know any boundaries.



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07) Mounier El Hamdaoui (Holland/Willem II/AM-W/'84) 9.0D



History:

No one could deny the talent of Mounir El Hamdaoui, but his stubborn and cocky personality gave him the label 'problemchild'. Played for Excelsior Rotterdam when they were still in the Jupiler league. The Tottenham Hotspurs quickly noted his immense skillset, but he never played much for them. He was however, very impressive during the games he did play, but Martin Jol wanted no piece of him and prefered the more experienced players. Injuries made an official end to his stay in Engand. He returned to the Eredivisie when he joined Willem II last summer. After a highly impressive first month (3 goals, 2 assists in 4 games), he injured himself again and was out for the remainer of the competition (10 months). He actually made his return in a test match yesterday.

Pro's
  • Physically impressive. Strong on the ball and in battles.
  • Most skilled prospect of this list. His skill set is undeniable.
  • Has a hard, confident shot.
  • Two-footed.
  • Can play the role of a winger effectively, play AM or even striker.
  • His dribbles paired with his technique are entertaining to watch.
  • Makes you sit on the edge of your seat.
  • His speed and physical package makes him one of the toughest players to defend in the Eredivisie.

Con's
  • Cocky. Once said he was no worse than van Persie.
  • Injury-prone, obviously.
  • Lack of dicipline.
  • Can be a show-boater.
  • Not very commited to his team. Already has been with 3 teams and has been going back and forth regarding his future international career (former Oranje U21 international, wanted to play for Marocco, then Holland, now it's wide open).


Future:

Seems odd to place a player with only 4 Eredivisie games under his belt this high on the list, but Hamdaoui's talent is just too good to pass up. He'll be, however, a boom or bust type. He'll either work on his mental shortcomings and become a great player, or he'll continue to waste his talent by playing for poor teams as big teams rather stay away from undiciplined players. He has enormous potential, though. His dream is to play for Real Madrid someday, and in terms of talent, he easily could.





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08) Luis Suárez (Uruguay/Groningen/LW-S/'87) 9.0C



History:
Luis Suárez might have finished the 2006/2007 campaign as Eredivisie's most promising youngster. With 10 goals and 6 assists and plenty of jaw dropping actions, Suárez has gained the interest from plenty of teams. Ajax recently knocked on Groningen's door, as they want Luis to replace Ryan Babel. Groningen's answer? They didn't even want to talk, period. That's how important Suarez has became in the north.


Pro's
  • Great technique. Uses it very effectively.
  • Handles fast.
  • Outstanding first touch. Immediately puts himself in the right position.
  • Good in crowded area's.
  • Two-footed.
  • Versatile (winger or striker).
  • Quality cross.
  • Very entertaining.

Con's
  • Dives a lot.
  • He either laughs or looks like he just ate four lemons.. There's no in between.
  • Seemed as a softy.
  • Weak in battles.
  • Weak in the air.

Future:

It's only a matter of time before Luis Suárez leaves Groningen. They won't be able to maintain him much longer and sooner or later have to accept a bid. I'm not even sure he'll be affordable for Dutch teams and might make a move to an European top club right away.



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09) Moussa Dembélé (Belgium/AZ/S/'87) 9.0C



History:

Dembélé is regarded as one of Belgium's brightspots for the future, along with Kompany and vandenBorre. The powerful striker scored 9 goals as an 18 year old for a weak Willem II team, earning him the interest of several big teams, including Real Madrid. He eventualy chosed for ambitious AZ, where he just completed a very good season, pairing up with Arveladze/Koevermans for 6 goals and 5 assists.

Pro's
  • Powerful striker.
  • Creates chances easily.
  • Great finisher/quality shot.
  • Strong in battles.
  • Decent speed.
  • Strong in the air.
  • Two-footed.

Con's
  • Can be invisable for stretches.
  • Can be very sloppy.
  • Struggles with confident.

Future:

Dembélé uses AZ in order to make the eventual step to a big European side. He easily has the skills to make it there, but he needs more seasoning in Holland. He's still too inconsistent, but the talent is there. He's already a dangerous striker in the Eredivisie, but he can be so much more than that. I expect a big break through next year for this Belgium international.



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10) Ibrahim Afellay (Holland/PSV/AM/'86) 8.5B



History:

Playing for a coach who isn't keen on playing young talent, Afellay did outstanding. He played in most games and contributed big time with 6 goals and 4 assists. Afellay was the playmaker who brought offense (for the forwards) when need be. Afellay is progressing just fine and even earned himself a call-up for Oranje this year, making his official Oranje debute vs Slovenia in March.

Pro's
  • Good technique. Uses it very effectively.
  • Handles fast.
  • Very creative.
  • Reads the game well.
  • Knows when to speed things up or slow things down.
  • A very accurate shot.
  • Quality cross.
  • Avoids tackles with ease.

Con's
  • One footed.
  • Needs to toughen up.
  • With such an accurate shot, he should use it more.
  • Weak in battles.
  • Weak in the air.

Future:

Afellay's potential is pretty impressive, but he needs to work his physical aspects before reaching it. He'll be quite a package if he does so. Expect him to play for PSV a few more years. IMO his game is suited for Spain the most, so I wouldn't be surprised if he continued his career there in the future. Unfortunately, he has Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder ahead of him when we're discussing his Oranje career, but he will be a a full time Oranje international in no-time. It's up to him to proof he's better then both Wesley and Rafael. Tough task, but with the way his progression is going, it really wouldn't surprise me.


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