What is Martin Jol trying to do to us writers? First Pavel Pogrebnywhyme and now Luciano Narsicanttakeitanymore and Oussama Assaijustkillmenow.
No wonder everyone’s calling them “The Dutch Duo” or “The two Dutch guys.” I think I’ll go with Heerenveen 1 and Heerenveen 2. Even that’s a pain. At least we didn’t get their former Heerenveen teammates Balazs Dzsudzsak or Anzhi Makhachkala. I might have cried.
In all seriousness, looks like Martin Jol is looking to replace Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey, which is prudent on his part. These seem to be more than just rumors, since their Eredivisie club Heerenveen has already confirmed they’re in London touring Fulham’s grounds, and their agent Mino Raiola said they’re beginning preliminary discussions. That could simply be their agent trying to drum up quick interest, but seems to me if they are indeed at Craven Cottage and Motspur Park, this may be much more than rumors.
The rumored transfer fee is around £10 million for both together (package deal!) and word is that’s pretty reasonable for two kids who have performed incredibly well.
Here’s a brief overview of each potential new Cottager:
Luciano Narsingh: (Heerenveen 1)
Narsingh is a 21 year old Dutch international who has already been named in Holland’s 36-man preliminary Euro 2012 squad. Primarily a right winger, Narsingh is an assist machine, something that Fulham could absolutely make use of, especially if Dembele and/or Dempsey are headed out. In 34 league matches this season in the Eredivisie, Narsingh has 8 goals and a whopping 22 assists, which leads the entire Eredivisie. Also in 5 league cup matches he’s got 4 goals and 4 assists. His assist totals are no doubt helped by Heerenveen holding the league’s scoring leader Bas Dost, who’s banged in 32 goals this season, but that relationship is no doubt symbiotic, and the fact that Narsingh is part of a team feeding Dost’s goal tally is sure to add to his value.
In fact, despite having the highest minutes total on the Eredivisie leaderboard, he’s still ON the leaderboard (9th to be exact) in minutes per point (a point consisting of a goal or an assist, I went all NHL on you) with a point every 96.77 minutes. That means he’s producing something just about every match, and playing a LOT. If you look at his match total (33) and his minutes total (2906), and do the math, he’s playing an average of 88 minutes a match. Now that’s work rate and durability for you, especially for a 21 year old. It also means he’s too valuable to the club to take off the pitch. Looks like this kid would be a heck of an addition.
Narsingh is a product of the Ajax youth academy and has stated a few times he’d like to play for them eventually.
Oussama Assaidi: (Heerenveen 2)
A natural left winger, Assaidi is a dual citizen, with Dutch and Moroccan citizenship and eligibility, but turned down the chance to be on the Dutch squad to play for the Moroccan team last February. The 23 year old landed at Heerenveen in 2009 for the 09/10 season after they purchased him from the AZ Alkmaar youth ranks, and got the chance to not only help the club in the Eredivisie, but also appeared in the Europa League that year. He’s played in 22 matches this season, striking 10 goals and assisting in 7 others.
He plays a little more back than Heerenveen 1, which reduces his goal and assist numbers (ala Moussa Dembele) but his value is still high, as we’ve seen with Dembele, who has little to show for in terms of goal numbers, but is still a hot commodity.
Both these young men are most valuable for their crossing ability, something that to be honest Fulham lacks quite a bit. Most of their attacks develop through the middle, and although Damien Duff is a valuable man to have on the flanks, he isn’t as sharp as he used to be, and is definitely on the decline. Aside from him, the best crossers on the club are probably full-backs.
Replacing Dempsey and/or Dembele is clearly on Martin Jol’s mind, and he’s going to the place he knows best to do it, his homeland.