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The top five Dutch players to star in the Premier League
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Dan Fitch
Dennis Bergkamp won three Premier League titles at Arsenal
Dennis Bergkamp won three Premier League titles at Arsenal

Cody Gakpo is the latest in a long line of Dutch superstars to make a move to the Premier League.

The 23-year-old made his Liverpool debut in the 2-2 draw against Wolves in the FA Cup third round last Saturday.

Now he looks set to make his Premier League entrance, following in the footsteps of many Netherlands internationals who were tempted to England’s top flight. 

As Liverpool and Gakpo prepare to face Brighton, we take a look back at the greatest Dutch masters to have graced English football. 

Ruud van Nistelrooy

Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of 95 strikes in 150 games puts the Manchester United marksman up there with the greatest Premier League goalscorers of all-time.

A knee injury postponed Van Nistelrooy’s arrival at Old Trafford from PSV Eindhoven by a year but when he finally joined the Red Devils for £19million in 2001, he was named as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year after scoring 36 goals in his debut campaign. 

He scored 44 times in 52 games in his second season, helping United to the 2002-03 Premier League title.

The goals continued to flow at a high rate across five seasons at the club, before he left to join Real Madrid.

Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk helped to turn Liverpool into title contenders
Virgil van Dijk helped to turn Liverpool into title contenders

Virgil van Dijk's arrival on Merseyside was a hugely transformative signing for Liverpool.

After a successful spell at Southampton, the centre-back joined the Reds for £75m in 2018, a then world-record fee for a defender.

It turned out to be a bargain, with the towering presence at the heart of their backline helping Jurgen Klopp's side reach the Champions League final in his first few months.

Liverpool would claim victory in the continental showpiece the following season and Van Dijk has been integral to the club winning the Premier League in 2019-20 and both domestic cups last season. 

Edwin van der Sar

No Dutch player has won more Premier League titles than former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. 

The shot-stopper was crowned English champion on four occasions during his six seasons at Old Trafford, along with the Champions League in 2007-08, after belatedly proving himself as the man capable of filling Peter Schmeichel’s gloves. 

Alex Ferguson considered Van der Sar as the heir to Schmeichel's throne when the Dane left in 1999, but he instead opted to join Juventus. After two years in Italy, the towering keeper made a surprise switch to Fulham, where he spent four seasons. 

His form at Fulham eventually saw him move to United. In 313 Premier League appearances, he kept 132 clean sheets. 

Robin van Persie

Robin van Perise played for both Arsenal and Manchester United
Robin van Perise played for both Arsenal and Manchester United

Another Dutch player who made a major impact at two Premier League clubs was Robin van Persie. 

When he signed for Arsenal in 2004, Arsene Wenger had plans to convert him from a winger to a centre forward. It was not until Thierry Henry departed in 2007 that Van Persie became the main striker for the Gunners, but injuries conspired to restrict his appearances.

In what turned out to be his last season in North London, Van Persie stayed injury free and scored 30 goals in 38 Premier League games in 2011-12. This achievement saw United pay £24m for the left-footed hitman. 

Van Persie would be ever present again and score 26 goals, helping the team to the title in Ferguson’s last season in charge.

With 144 strikes, no Dutch player has scored more often in the Premier League than the Rotterdam native.

Dennis Bergkamp

When it comes to the ultimate Dutch master in the Premier League, the obvious choice is Dennis Bergkamp. 

Starting his career at Ajax, he arrived at Arsenal in 1995 after a disappointing spell at Inter Milan. Bruce Rioch paid £7.5m for the creative genius, whose career at Highbury really took off when Wenger took the reins in 1996. 

In his third season at the club, Bergkamp scored 21 goals across all competitions, as the Gunners won the Premier League and FA Cup double.

He would win three Premier League titles during his 11 years at the club, including the Invincibles season in 2003-04.

Bergkamp’s famous strikes against Leicester in 1997 and Newcastle in 2002 were both named as the BBC Goal of the Season. He was of course also renowned for his playmaking abilities and no Dutch player has managed more Premier League assists than his total of 94.



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