6th August – Robin Van Persie

Robin Van Persie has been one of the best strikers in Premier League history and can potentially make the difference between winning the league and coming runner up.

Last season he only played 21 times in the league and scored 12 goals so if he had been available for all 38 games then he would have likely scored over 20 goals and Manchester United would have had a much better season. Now Louis Van Gaal is in charge the 31 year old could become an even better player and after seeing some of his goals at the World Cup it is clear to see that Van Persie fits into Van Gaal’s systems perfectly.

The striker started his career at Feyernoord and made his debut at the age of 17 and made 15 starts in the 2001-02 season and started in the final of the UEFA Cup final. Early in the next season he scored five times in a game against AGOVV Apeldoorn but he did not have as much of a breakthrough season as he hoped because of a falling out with manager Bert Van Marwijk. He stayed at the club for one more season but left after 15 league goals in 61 games.
On the 17th May 2004 Van Persie joined Arsenal for £2.75 million but had to wait until the 27th October to make his competitive debut and against Manchester City in the League Cup he scored the opening goal in a 2-1 win. He finished his debut season with 10 goals in 41 games. He started the next season well with eight goals in eight starts but his season was disrupted by a toe injury and he could not continue his great form.

Once again the 2006-07 was disrupted by injury but he still managed 13 goals and was ready to become Arsenal’s main striker after Thierry Henry left for Barcelona. He took to his new role well with seven goals in 10 games but yet another injury ruined his season and all the niggling injuries he picked up were holding him back.
RVP Arsenal
The 2008-09 season was a defining year for the striker because he proved that he could be the main man at a big club as he scored 20 goals in all competitions and also provided 11 assists. His form in January of the season was exceptional as he either scored or provided the assist for every goal scored that month. Over the next few seasons he scored 9 in 16, 18 in 25 and then finally 30 in 38 before leaving for Manchester United.

He was bought by Sir Alex Ferguson to make sure that they won their 20th league title and that is exactly what he did. On the 22nd April he scored a hatrick against Aston Villa which confirmed them as champions and after 30 goals in all competitions he was seen as one of the best signings Ferguson made during his time at Old Trafford. Unfortunately injuries in his second season stopped him having the same impact and may have been part of the reason David Moyes lost his job.
The final word can go to Sir Alex Ferguson. “He’s unbelievable. I think his goals tell you that, his performance levels told you that. In terms of impact he has made as big an impact as any player I can imagine. Arsene Wenger said he was better than I’d think and he was right. He has been unbelievable.”


2nd August – Nacer Chadli

Nacer Chadli had an indifferent first season in the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur but he will be hoping to make his mark in the upcoming year.

The winger was also part of Belgium’s World Cup squad and although they did not quite live up to their potential they did still get some good results and were involved in arguably the game of the tournament against USA. Now that Chadli has had a season to settle in he will be hoping to show his true potential and is still only 25 so he could develop into a truly great player for Spurs.

Chadli started his career in the second division of Dutch football at AGOVV Apeldoorn and was considered one of the best young players in the division and one that would go onto bigger things in his career. He spent three years at the club and scored 28 goals in 90 games but it was his final season that where he really showed his potential and scored 20 times in all competitions and in the summer of 2010 he signed for the reigning champions of Holland FC Twente.
Chadli Apeldoorn
His first goal for the club was a very important one as he scored the winning goal away to title rivals PSV. Shortly afterwards he made his European debut in the Champions League against Inter Milan on the 14th September and then two weeks later he scored his first Champions League against Tottenham. At the end of his first season at the club he ended with 13 goals in all competitions. He stayed at the club for the next two years and was definitely catching the eye and once again in his final season he had a fantastic year and it was no wonder other teams were looking to sign him after scoring 18 times in 38 games.
Chadli Twente
On the 21st July 2013 Chadli signed for Tottenham for £7 million and made his debut in a 5-2 friendly defeat to Monaco just before the start of the new season. He then made his official debut in the first game of the season against Crystal Palace in a 1-0 win. He was in and out of the squad for a lot of the season particularly under Andre Villas Boas but after Tim Sherwood took over he found a new role in the team and started playing as a central attacking midfielder. He proved his worth to the team in an impressive 4-0 win over Newcastle United and maybe this is the position where he will be most successful but he has to once again prove his worth to new manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Chadli TH
The final word can go to his former manager Tim Sherwood who believes next year he will be even better. “We all know what Nacer can do. It’s all about the settling in period. We know he possesses that ability, he would not play for the Belgian national team if he didn’t. We see him do it every day in training.”

24th March – Raimond van der Gouw

Raimond van der Gouw is not a name that many football fans will use on a daily basis anymore, in fact during his time in England most fans would not have even seen him play.
But the Dutchman who turns 51 today has won two Premier League titles, a Champions League and an FA Cup. Some of you will know where he picked up these medals but for those that do not, he was at Manchester United from 1996 to 2002. During these years he warmed the bench mostly as he only played 60 times with most of these appearances coming in the 1999-2000 season where he played 23 games.

Although he maybe did not play as much as he would have liked his teammates appreciated his efforts and were never worried when he was called upon. Roy Keane admired him and said “he is a true professional and works extremely hard” this led to Keane signing him as a goalkeeping coach when he was in charge of Sunderland which shows how much faith and trust he had in him.
RVDG with Keane
The goalkeeper made his debut against Aston Villa and managed to keep a clean sheet and was then thrust into the limelight in the semi final of the Champions League that season once again producing a number of brilliant saves against Borussia Dortmund. Unfortunately they ended up losing the game 1-0. He saved his best performances for that competition when in 1998 against Monaco he was once again almost unbeatable after saving several clear cut chances. It was in the 1999-2000 season when he was considered as first choice for the only time in his United career but this did not last long and was replaced by Mark Bosnich.
RVDG champions league
After leaving the club he joined West Ham United where he did not play a game and then RKC Waalwijk (Holland) only featuring once. He did enjoy a good end to his career playing 100 league games for AGOVV Apeldoorn and in the final appearance of his career he scored his first professional goal from the penalty spot.

The last words go to Sir Alex Ferguson who said: “I felt that Raimond could handle the big games, I felt that some people’s games are suited to Europe, and that applies to Raimond. He gets around his area very quickly.”