Arsenal Chief Scout Steve Rowley was spotted taking in some Dutch football last weekend as he went to view the titanic clash between PSV Eindhoven and Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena on Saturday. He saw a pulsating tie in which Ajax emerged as 3-1 victors but with neither side scheduled to face The Gunners in the coming weeks what was he doing there?
Of course he could have just been taking in a top quality game of football on the continent but others have differing theories that he may have been checking out some of the talent currently available at these two sides. Both clubs have provided plenty of players in the past who have gone on to play Premier League football and Ajax have two former Gunners legends on the coaching staff in the form of Marc Overmars and Dennis Bergkamp so that also could have played a part in his visit.
But if he was running the rule over potential recruits just who could he have been looking out for?
Reportedly this was the man that Rowley had his eyes on. The Dutch international has become a box-to-box midfielder of note in the last 18 months and that has seen interest rise from the UK. While Manchester United were previously considered the favourites for his signature the 22-year-old is now courting interest from The Gunners and Tottenham. Rowley would have been checking if he is worth the apparent £20 million PSV have quoted for his services.
The Ajax playmaker featured in the win and has been one of Europe’s most talked about transfer targets for a couple of seasons now. A quiet Euro 2012 led some to feel he was not quite ready for a move away but his good form for the Dutch champions this season has led to renewed rumours regarding his future. Could Arsenal be about to throw their hat in the ring?
Last year’s NextGen Series top goal-scorer is simply a goal-machine. Three goals in the first team this season, including a vital goal in Saturdays tie have taken his name to a much wider audience. With great dribbling ability and a thunderous clinicality could Arsenal be on the verge of trying to pry away one of Europe’s top talents. He turned down a new contract at the end of November and the 18-year-old Dane is also being watched by Manchester City and Barcelona.
Many sources report that Wenger wants to add a new keeper to his regime to give some realistic to his current number one Wojciech Szczesny. He doesn’t believe Vito Mannone is a long-term option while Lukasz Fabianski is nearing the end of his Emirates career. Vermeer impressed in the Champions League ties with Manchester City and is the perfect fit for Arsenal’s goalkeeper position.
The talented Belgian is reportedly a target of Liverpool’s but if Arsenal were looking to cast their eye over the tricky winger they probably won’t do so again. He had a poor game and gifted Fischer the chance of a third and final goal.
Could Arsenal bring in any of these talents?
image: © Dries Mertens