[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ithout causing disrespect to the Dutch top flight, players who have taken the leap from the Eredivisie to one of Europe’s elite divisions will testify to the sizeable gulf in overall quality.
Over recent years a number of special players have originated from the Eredivisie to star in the Premier League, with the likes of Luis Suárez, Wilfried Bony and Graziano Pellè showing their class in England.
However, others, with the likes of Vurnon Anita, Karim El Ahmadi and Jozy Altidore springing to mind, have found the transition to the rigours of the Premier League tough going.
Dutch domestic football continues to be a source of raw talent for big European clubs to tap into, with the most promising player currently plying his trade in Holland none other than Memphis Depay.
The 21-year-old attacking midfielder has spearheaded a young but supremely gifted PSV Eindhoven side to the top of the Eredivisie table with 20 wins from 23 games, which will surely see the Philips Stadion outfit crowned Dutch champions this term for the first time since 2008.
Although others such as Adam Maher and Luuk de Jong must be highlighted for their stellar performances this season, Depay is the undoubted star of Phillip Cocu’s squad.
A graduate of the PSV academy, Depay has matured substantially over the last 18 months and improved markedly with the more football he plays.
The promising attacker is the Eredivisie’s top goalscorer this term with 15 strikes from 19 games; no mean feat for a player who can essentially be labelled as a winger rather than a striker.
His breathtaking shows of skill and speed have captured the imagination, while his confidence on the ball and vision show that Depay does not simply rely on his considerable physical attributes to torment opposition defenders.
The youngster was something of a wildcard inclusion in Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands squad for the World Cup in the summer and showed that he was more than capable of cutting it at the highest level with some inspiring cameos from the Dutch bench.
With this in mind and his continued progression this term, PSV are likely to face a losing battle to hold onto their prize asset this summer.
Depay signed a new contract with his boyhood club last summer and stated that he would not leave PSV until he had claimed an Eredivisie title.
With this looking almost certain to happen in 2014-15 and his list of suitors supposedly growing on a weekly basis, the young attacker will have a choice to make at the end of the current campaign.
Full of confidence and playing consistently well, Depay will believe that he is more than good enough to move to England or another major league and succeed; the growing evidence suggests he has all the attributes to be a real star abroad.
However, there is also a risk that he could move away from home too soon, with the transition from being a big fish in a small pond to having to accept reduced playing time elsewhere not easy to take.
Despite being a mercurial talent, there are still areas of Depay’s game that need to improve.
His distribution and delivery have been better this season than last, but the fact that he has only assisted three of the 47 PSV goals that he hasn’t scored shows that he is by no means the finished product.
Some of the best Dutch players of a generation stayed in the Eredivisie for prolonged periods before moving abroad, which in turn helped to assist their development.
Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder both played in the Ajax first-team for five years before moving to Hamburg and Real Madrid respectively as established international players, while Edwin van der Sar was 28 years old before leaving the Eredivisie to sign for Juventus.
Staying at PSV would also be a big statement and help the club to retain some of its other star players, which could spark a period of domestic dominance akin to what Ajax experienced before this season.
With a chance to play Champions League football at the Philips Stadion also, there are plenty of reasons to suggest that Depay would be best served staying in Holland.
In reality, the money likely to be on the table will probably be too good for PSV to refuse, while the player will want to test himself at a big European club.
Of the many suitors mentioned frequently in the press, Manchester United and Tottenham are the two teams most commonly touted.
A reunion with Van Gaal would be an exciting switch for Depay, while playing for a historic English club in the midst of a positive transition could see the Dutchman thrive at Old Trafford.
However, with the likes of Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Ángel Di María, Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj et al as competition for places in the United side, there is no guarantees that Depay’s current momentum would not be stunted due to a lack of playing opportunities.
At White Hart Lane, despite competition for places still being present, Depay would be an addition that could potentially solve the issues surrounding quality and continuity that Mauricio Pochettino has had on the right-hand side of his 4-2-3-1 formation.
That said, with no guarantee of Champions League football in North London, the youngster may remain unconvinced if Spurs come knocking.
There is no doubt that Depay is one of the brightest young prospects in European football today and if he continues his current rate of development could well be a world star in the not-too-distant future.
This progression will largely depend on where he plays his football next season though, with very careful consideration the best course of action.
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