Manchester United’s latest superstar-in-waiting Memphis Depay bagged 22 goals in 30 games for PSV on their way to the Dutch title last term, but the 21-year-old couldn’t quite manage a clean sweep of Eredivisie top scorer, young player of the year and player of the year awards.
The last accolade named was bestowed upon Depay’s fellow Oranje regular Georginio Wijnaldum, who captained Philip Cocu’s men to their 17-point title win, snapping Ajax’s four-year hold on the trophy in the process.
Despite being stationed in central midfield by Cocu during 2014/15, behind forwards Depay, Luuk de Jong and Luciano Narsingh according to WhoScored.com, Wijnaldum contributed a whopping 18 goals to the PSV cause over the campaign, with the 24-year-old firing home 14 in the league for the third time in five seasons.
Naturally, the big-spending boardrooms of British football have taken note, with north east duo Newcastle and Sunderland reportedly ready to battle for the former Feyenoord man’s signature.
The Mirror believes Black Cats coach Dick Advocaat has made his fellow Dutchman Sunderland’s number one target, after allegedly being persuaded to stay at the Stadium of Light by a £50m transfer warchest.
At least £15m of that windfall will be required to land Wijnaldum, as new Geordies boss Steve McClaren, who was the last manager to lead a team to the Eredivisie title prior to Ajax’s winning run, with Twente in 2009/10, has also identified the Frank Lampard-esque midfielder as the cornerstone of his St James’ Park rebuild.
Advocaat may have an ace up his sleeve though, having coached the player when in charge at the Philips Stadion during the 2012/13 season, although whether they got on famously or not is unclear.
The black and gold boys at bwin still see the Rotterdam native as unlikely to make a move to England this summer, going 6/4 about Wijnaldum signing for a Premier League side permanently by September 4th, with 2/5 saying he doesn’t.
Considering the past three Eredivisie footballers of the year, namely Jan Vertonghen, Wilfried Bony and Daley Blind, have moved to the English top flight after claiming the gong, there could be some value in that market.