Category: Holland

Dutch international Luuk de Jong has signed for German side Borussia Mönchengladbach for a fee in the region of €15 million, following months of speculation linking the forward with a move to Die Fohlen.

Beginning his career with De Graafschap in 2008, de Jong took just 14 Eredivisie games to attract the attention of bigger Dutch clubs. Having already contributed vital assists and crucial goals – including a spectacular overhead-kick winner against Heracles Almelo in March 2009 – de Jong established himself as one of the country’s brightest young talents, and few were surprised when FC Twente swooped to sign the forward in April 2009.

De Jong poses with his new shirt

Two assists on his debut, an 8-0 cup rout of SC Joure, set the tone for a prolific spell at the De Grolsch Veste stadium. Over the next three years, de Jong netted 39 times in just 76 league games – a strike rate of over one goal every other game. His goals powered Twente to the Eredivisie title in 2009-10, and he was the club’s top scorer in the following two seasons.

After a brilliant 2011-12 campaign in which de Jong scored 25 league goals in 32 appearances, Twente manager Steve McClaren and president Joop Munsterman appeared to be resigned to losing their star man. Believing the 21-year-old was headed for the Premier League, McClaren told the Daily Mirror: “Luuk is an English style striker, made for English football. I am just ­desperate to keep him for one more year, but I ­realise that will be difficult. Luuk is big, strong, brilliant in the air and scores goals so easily. He has every quality a top class striker needs to have for a big club.”

With many European clubs rumoured to be interested in the Swiss-born striker, Munsterman slapped a hefty €15 million (£11.7 million) price tag on de Jong – a figure that put off some potential suitors, including English side Newcastle United. Having offloaded last season’s top scorer Marco Reus to Borussia Dortmund for €17.5 milli0n, Borussia Mönchengladbach had money to spend and needed to invest in a goalscorer.

Die Fohlen had finished in an impressive fourth place in the 2011-12 Bundesliga, and their success and ambition clearly tempted de Jong once the club had met Twente’s €15 million valuation. Indeed, the frontman admitted he would forego personal success at his new club for the benefit of his new team: “I would be happy to give up the [top] scorer’s title if it meant challenging at the top of the table. The club has made the right steps with its transfer. Maybe we can win the league in the next five years. I didn’t sign until 2017 without having any long-term objectives.”

Relieved to have finally completed the signing of de Jong after months of speculation, Mönchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl smiled: “”We are very pleased that it’s now a done deal after all, and that Luuk will be able to travel to our training camp in Tegernsee on Friday. In Luuk, we have secured the services of a very talented striker who already has plenty of international experience under his belt with Twente and the Dutch national side, despite his tender age of 21.”

Recording a strike rate of at least a goal a game for each of the Dutch youth teams he represented at international level, de Jong was handed his senior Holland debut in 2011. He was named in the country’s Euro 2012 squad, but despite the Oranje’s disastrous tournament, was left on the bench for all three group stage games.


Brazilian side Botafogo have completed the signing of Uruguayan wonderkid Nicolás Lodeiro from Ajax for an undisclosed fee. The deal was confirmed on Botafogo’s official website on Friday, and Lodeiro will link up with his new team-mates after the Olympic Games.

Making his debut for Uruguayan giants Nacional aged just 18, Lodeiro enjoyed national honours in his second season in senior football as Nacional won the Primera División in 2008-09. Although still a teenager, Lodeiro played in 25 of Nacional’s 32 league fixtures that season, earning rave reviews and showing maturity beyond his years.

A 2011 Copa América winner, Lodeiro has a fine international pedigree

After helping his side reach the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores in 2009, Lodeiro began to attract interest from a number of European clubs and few were surprised when the midfielder left for Dutch giants Ajax in January 2010. Although linking up with compatriots Luis Suarez  – who had recommended Nicolás to Ajax boss Martin Jol – and Bruno Silva somewhat softened the blow of having to leave his home continent, Lodeiro predictably struggled to make an immediate impact at Ajax, only making ten appearances in all competitions.

Included in Uruguay’s 2010 World Cup squad, Lodeiro did little to boost his chances of first-team football at the Amsterdam Arena by first becoming the tournament’s first player to be sent off, and then picking up an injury that kept him out for the entire 2010-11 campaign.

To his credit, Lodeiro recovered to make 12 Eredivisie appearances for Ajax last season, scoring his first league goals for the club and also netting against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late to save his Ajax career, and the Dutch giants have allowed Lodeiro to leave as they prepare to defend their league title in 2012-13.

Five years ago, Lodeiro’s decision to leave Europe for the Brazilian top-flight would have been viewed as a huge step backwards, but the league has markedly improved in recent years as national heroes return home to end their careers and Brazil’s youngsters now choose to bide their time at home rather than rushing into an ill-advised move to Europe.

In joining Botafogo – currently just one point shy of fourth place and a Copa Libertadores berth – Lodeiro follows in the footsteps of Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf, who left Europe for The Lone Star at the start of the month. The fanfare surrounding the former AC Milan and Real Madrid schemer, who still dominates Botafogo’s official website over 20 days after joining, will take some of the pressure off Lodeiro.

At the age of 23, Lodeiro has played just 81 games at club level – Seedorf has made over 800 appearances. Named as Man of the Match in just his second senior appearance for Uruguay, Lodeiro clearly has talent, and moving back to South America can help him settle and rediscover the form that led him to Europe in the first place. He needs more first-team football, and Lodeiro is more likely to play regularly at Botafogo than Ajax.

A statement on Botafogo’s official website said: “Botafogo closed on Thursday the signing of Uruguayan Nicolas Lodeiro, 23. The player, who signed for four years with the club, is meeting with the Uruguayan team in preparation for the Olympics in London, and [will] submit to Botafogo after the competition.”


Veteran Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf has joined mid-table Brazilian Serie A side Botafogo in a deal that could make him the country’s best-paid foreigner.

Seedorf said an emotional goodbye to AC Milan – where he had spent half of his professional career – in May, after revealing that the league clash with Novara would be his last game for the Rossoneri. He officially departed the San Siro on 21 June and said: “I am leaving after 10 wonderful years…I leave a family”, while club CEO Adriano Galliani gushed “When Milan played well…each and every time it occured, Seedorf played an amazing match. He is a world class player.”

Botafogo will hope Seedorf’s experience and trophy haul can help his new team-mates

The Suriname-born schemer leaves Serie A following a trophy-laden spell in Italy which saw him lift two Champions League cups, two league titles and the FIFA Club World Cup with Milan, as well as reaching the final of the Coppa Italia with Inter in 2000. Having also enjoyed top-flight football in Holland, with Ajax, and won La Liga with Real Madrid, Seedorf joins Botafogo with a wealth of experience in the upper echelons of club football.

The 36-year-old has signed a two year deal with The Lone Star, and is expected to see out the remainder of his career at the 46,000-capacity Estadio Olimpico. A Botafogo club statement claimed the deal is “the biggest contract for a foreigner made by a Brazilian football club”.

Although Seedorf will clearly be the jewel in the crown of Botafogo’s modest squad – midfielder Renato (ex-Sevilla, with 28 caps for Brazil) and Uruguayan forward Sebastian Abreu (formerly of Deportivo and River Plate) are the club’s next-biggest stars – the Dutchman is not the first world-class player to have donned the side’s black-and-white strip. Botafogo alumni include legendary Brazilian wingers Garrincha and Jairzinho, three-time World Cup-winning coach Mario Zagallo (who had five separate spells in the Botafogo hotseat) and midfielder Didi, who has two World Cups to his name.

Seedorf’s impact on Botafogo’s success will stretch further than his performances on the field

Fully aware of Seedorf’s status in the game, Botafogo have already changed their website to have the Dutchman modelling a club shirt as the only image on the home page, with the caption “SEEDORF GLORIOSO”, while thousands of messages from fans with the slogan “Seedorf no Fogao” (“Seedorf the fire”) flooded social networking site Twitter.

The player’s fame is expected to lead to high shirt sales and will boost the club’s marketing prospects – just as the return of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho to Brazil in recent years saw huge advertising contracts and image rights. Expect plenty of stylish shots such as the one on the right.

The club will undoubtedly look to use the 87-cap Holland international to help advertise Botafogo to European audiences, enhancing the side’s reputation and attracting more supporters from abroad. Seedorf, who speaks Portuguese and is married to a Brazilian woman, also has the ability to communicate in his team-mates’ native tongue, an important factor that may save the dressing room from the sometimes morale-lowering impact of a marquee signing for the rest of the squad.

Clarence will join fellow 21st-century footballing icons Ronaldinho, Deco, Luis Fabiano and Neymar in the Brazilian top-flight, demonstrating a trend of up-and-coming superstars and veteran legends having greater faith in a league that has grown in appeal and stature in recent years.

Images: Seedorf at AC Milan –; “Seedorf Glorioso”, Botafogo –