There have been numerous Arsenal transfer rumours regarding the young AZ Alkmaar striker Vincent Janssen, but the fact is that not many of our readers had even heard of him until recently. So let me fill you in with some details about his rapid rise to fame in Holland which has earned him a place in the senior Netherlands team.
In fact his talent was noticed at an early age when he was snapped up by Feyenoord for their youth team and was capped four times for the U15 Holland side, scoring twice. After that he didn’t really fit in at the Dutch giants, and he was finally let go at 19 years of age and moved to lowly Almere City in the Second Division. As Janssen himself explained: “I saw that coming,” he said. “I didn’t have my best years at the Feyenoord youth academy.
“You should have a big mouth, and I had a problem with that in the beginning. It was a transition — a different culture, a different environment. I needed two years to adapt.”
The man that persuaded him to move to Almere City was the ex-Ajax goalkeeper Fred Grim, and he was happy to see him available for free. “Almere are a club that has to constantly look for players who were let go by the bigger teams,” Grim told ESPN. “I don’t know why Feyenoord didn’t want Vincent, but I knew that he was a very good striker. After talking to him, it was easy to understand that he is a great professional too.”
In 2013-14, the youngster scored 10 goals for Almere, and the following season nearly doubled his tally to 19 which brought him to the attention of AZ Alkmaar who took him up to the top tier.
Since then he has been incredible, scoring 27 goals this campaign including an early hat-trick against his old club Feyenoord which must have been very satisfying.
“Janssen has all the right skills for centre-forward,” Grim continued. “He keeps the ball well with his back to the goal. He knows how to position himself. He is quick and makes the right movements. He works hard without the ball and puts a lot of pressure on the defenders.
“Importantly, he is two footed, which makes his moves in the penalty area difficult to predict — he can go right, and he can go left. A lot of strikers can only shoot with one foot, and they are much easier to mark.
“Vincent has the right mentality. He is always willing to learn, very open and dedicated. He is an easy player to coach, because he always listens.”
“Janssen grew up in a sport-oriented family, and therefore he knows what one has to do in order to reach the top,” Grim explained. “From the very beginning, I was sure that he will go far.
“Numerous scouts visited our games to watch Vincent, not only from Holland, but also from Germany and Belgium. Eventually, he chose Alkmaar because it was the best option for him to develop.
“I know their coach, John van den Brom, personally, and he understood what kind of a player he was getting.”
When Janssen joined Alkmaar, his mentor Grim also left Almere to work with the Netherlands’ under-21 team. With Grim’s guidance, Janssen scored six goals in five games in European Under-21 Championship qualifiers in the autumn, and was quickly called up to the senior side. His debut was awesome and he scored and assisted in Holland’s 2-1 win over England in March.
With 27 goals in 34 games for Alkmaar it is no surprise that he is now being coveted by teams like Arsenal, and if he retains his supreme confidence and carry’s on improving, he could definitely be a superstar of the future.
If I was Wenger I would be trying hard to get this 21 year-old to the Emirates as quickly as possible….