Clockwork Orange: The Dutch masters who have graced English football
21 January 2009 09:15
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Forest boys: The late, great Brian Clough (second left) unveils (l-r) Gary Megson, Franz Carr and Metgod at the City Ground
9: Arjen Robben (Chelsea)
Jose Mourinho knew what he doing when he pounced for half of PSV's 'Batman and Robben' duo in 2004. The former, Mateja Kezman, would follow later (the less said the better), but Robben dazzled defences and spectators alike with raw pace, trickery, an eye for goal and a surprisingly selfless nature.
Flying winger: Robben's ability to score and provide goals saw the Dutchman net two League titles at Stamford Bridge
8: Marc Overmars (Arsenal)
Seldom one to gamble, Arsene Wenger took a punt on the injury-prone Overmars, seeing the potential of his trademark lightning bursts. Signed for£5.5million two years after European Cup glory with Louis van Gaal's masterful Ajax, many thought the winger's knees would struggle to cope with the hurly burly of the English game. How wrong they were.
Nice bit of business: Overmars was sold to Barcelona for an almighty£25million
7: Jaap Stam (Manchester United)
Stam's no-nonsense approach to defending earned him respect, but few plaudits in his homeland. A transfer to England seemed inevitable, and duly occurred when Sir Alex Ferguson pounced for the man mountain. Alongside Peter Schmeichel, Stam was the rock upon United's 1999 Treble was built.
Man mountain: Stam takes on Filippo Inzaghi during their epic 3-2 win during the Champions League semi-final in Turin
6: Frans Thijssen (Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town)
The architect supreme of Ipswich's 1981 UEFA Cup triumph, Thijssen arrived at Portman Road in 1979 from Twente Enschede, mere months after Muhren made the same move. Bobby Robson built his cultured Ipswich side around the Dutch duo, with Thijssen becoming the first overseas player to be named Footballer of the Year in 1981.
Double Dutch: Thijssen and Muhren brought cultured flair - and canny fashion sense - to Suffolk
5: Arnold Muhren (Ipswich Town, Manchester United)
After UEFA Cup joy, Muhren lifted the FA Cup two years later at Manchester United. It was at Old Trafford where the languid Dutchman became the club's first foreign star, long before Eric Cantona's collars graced the Theatre of Dreams. Elegant and seemingly with time to burn thanks to an impeccable reading of the game, Muhren is fondly remembered for his years in England.
4: Ruud Gullit (Chelsea)
Although past his rampaging prime that saw Gullit win the European Championship with the Netherlands, three Serie A titles and a European Cup with AC Milan, Chelsea snared an absolute diamond in 1995. Used mainly as a sweeper, Gullit's profile laid the foundations for other high-profile foreigners to come to Stamford Bridge, not to mention the 'sexy football' seen under Gianluca Vialli.
Collectors item: Gullit skips past a tackle from Southampton's Matthew Le Tissier
3:Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)
Another Dutchman who put long-standing injury fears aside in England, the poacher supreme was truly a fearsome opponent, spearheading United's potent attack. Seemingly, he could score any goal from anywhere, and Premier League defences breathed a huge sigh of relief when van Nistelrooy joined real Madrid.
Red menace: Van Nistelrooy notched 95 Premier League goals in a United shirt
2: Edwin van der Sar (Fulham, Manchester United)
After the aberrations of Massimo Taibi and Fabian Barthez, Sir Alex Ferguson finally solved the conundrum of replacing Peter Schmeichel with the purchase of the lithe Van der Sar. Matching Barthez for shot-stopping ability, the 38-year-old has never been prone to the same rushes of blood to the head, and his reassuring presence has gone a long way to United equalling Chelsea's record of ten consecutive Premier League clean sheets. Fine distribution too. And of course a certain penalty save in Moscow
Match winner: Van der Sar saves Nicolas Anelka's weak effort to secure his second Champions League winners' medal
1: Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)
A master. Sublime with the ball and always thinking without it. Despite his non-flying tag, Bergkamp inspired Arsenal for a decade, helping both Ian Wright and Thierry Henry to smash Cliff Bastin's goal scoring record. Arguably Bruce Rioch's best ever signing.
The Ice Man cometh: The sublime Bergkamp scored 120 goals in 424 appearances for Arsenal
Make us laugh: Which club gets your vote as the Premier League's comedy club?
O'Shea and Manchester United aiming to go one better than the Treble
THE LIST: 30-21 of football's greatest wing wizards