Manchester United’s Dutch Destroyers
Memphis Depay’s imminent arrival at Manchester United will make him the tenth Dutchman to play for the Red Devils.
However, like most arrivals from the Netherlands some have fared better than others. We take a look at United’s Dutch alumni.
United didn’t have to scout the Eredivisie to land their first Dutch signing, snatching Muhren – or Arnold Johannes Hyacinthus Muhren to be exact – from Ipswich Town, having won the UEFA Cup with the Tractor Boys.
The goalscoring midfielder scored in an FA Cup Final replay win in 1983 but his final season at Old Trafford was blighted by injuries and he returned to Ajax in 1985.
While Marco van Basten’s superb volley in the 1988 European Championships final will never be forgotten, few remember who assisted the stunning strike. Step forward Arnold Johannes Hyacinthus Muhren.
Jordi Cruyff was always going to struggle to live up to his father’s legacy and so it proved at United. He was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in 1996 after Cruyff Senior was sacked by Barcelona and made a decent start before suffering a knee injury.
He did play enough to earn one Premier League medal during his United stint but never established a first team spot, returning to Spain with Alaves in 2000.
Raimond van der Gouw
With Peter Schmeichel at the club, the £500,000 signing of van der Gouw was never going to be anything more than as experienced back-up.
However, he made several memorable Champions League appearances and usurped the error-prone Mark Bosnich to earn a league medal in 2000, before resuming understudy duties when Fabien Barthez was signed.
He helped Ferguson’s side to the league title in each of his three seasons at Old Trafford and was part of the treble-winning squad in his first season.
The former United boss is not one for admitting to his mistakes but conceded he made an error in selling the defender to Lazio, following allegations made in Stam’s autobiography about being tapped-up by Ferguson while still at PSV.
He won the PFA Player’s Player of the Year in his first season after netting 23 Premier League goals, and finished his second campaign as the league’s top scorer with 25 – goals which helped United reclaim the title.
Like many before him, the striker had a falling out with Ferguson and left for Real Madrid in 2006 having scored 150 goals in 219 United appearances.
Edwin van der Saar
It took United over five years to replace Peter Schmeichel, with a series of keepers failing to fill the Dane’s gloves. That was until Edwin van der Saar arrived from Fulham in 2005.
The former Ajax stopper won four Premier League titles for United and his penalty save from Nicolas Anelka in the shoot out helped his side to Champions League glory in 2008.
Robin Van Persie
The former Arsenal striker’s goals helped fire United to the title in Ferguson’s last season, following his acrimonious move in 2012, winning the Golden Boot in the process.
Injuries have limited his impact since with just 12 league goals under David Moyes last season and ten this campaign. Despite his relationship with Louis van Gaal, further arrivals this summer could herald the departure of the 31-year-old.
Their scepticisim was proved correct as the left-back failed to cement a first-team place, and was offloaded to Dinamo Moscow last summer after admitting van Gaal didn’t rate him.
Like Jordi Cruyff, Blind is another from a famous Dutch footballing family. His father Danny was a star for Ajax in the 1980s and 90s and Blind Junior followed in his footsteps with the Amsterdam club.
He won four consecutive Eredivisie titles, and Dutch Footballer of the Year, before joining van Gaal’s revolution last summer.
He’s impressed fans in his debut season and has looked one of the most successful of last summer’s scattergun signings. His versatility has seen him play in a number of roles this campaign but further close-season squad strengthening could lead to a long-term berth at left-back.