Vincent Janssen Scout Report - The Dutch striker who is Tottenham Hotspur's new signing
Janssens rise to prominence has been as surprising as it was inspirational. Can he keep rising in England?
AZ Alkmaar’s Vincent Jannsen scored 27 goals in the Eredivisie last season and ever since he has been the source of constant speculation in the media as to which club he will play for in the next season. In fact, Tottenham Hotspurs are believed to have closed out a deal for the young striker. We analyse what makes the 22-year-old such a hot property on the transfer market.
Janssen, the latest attacking sensation from Netherlands, has carved quite a name for himself. He awarded the 2016 Johan Cruyff Trophy, for being the Dutch Talent of the Year. His prolific form in the 2nd half of last season has evoked comparisons with the Manchester United and Real Madrid legend Ruud van Nistelrooy. Let’s take a peek at what Janssen will bring to the table at a club like Tottenham Hotspur.
Janssen was born on 15th June 1994 in a small town in Netherlands called Heesch. He comes from a sporting family, his mother is a former World Champion swimmer. He was never earmarked for greatness as a child even though he ended up playing for the youth teams of famous clubs like NEC Breda and Feyenoord. He was released by Feyenoord in 2013, upon which he moved to Dutch 2nd division club Almere City FC where he made his professional debut.
He scored 19 goals in his second season at Almere at the age of 20 which made the Eredivisie clubs sit up and take note of him. Subsequently, AZ Alkmaar poached him on a 4-year-contract in the summer of 2015. His first few games did not go according to plan, not scoring in his first 8 games.But, he went on to score 27 goals in the season with twenty coming in the 2nd half of the season – the first player to do so in 52 years.
In between everything, he also became the youngest player to score 25 goals in Eredivisie since the great Ronaldo in 1994-95 for PSV Eindhoven.
Vincent Janssen is an old-fashioned striker rather than the modern forwards who can dribble and scythe through defences. He holds up play rather well, brings his teammates into play. More than that, Janssen is more than what meets the eye. Standing at 5’ 10”, he has more pace than most people would expect. He has a surprise element about him.
In fact, Janssen’s rise to prominence has been a welcome shock to most. According to his coaches, he has a keen mind and he used to study videos of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Luuk de Jong to pick up tips on how to improve his movement and positioning. Judging by the results last season, he is on the right path.
Work Ethic: A determined mind to improve himself constantly is one of Janssen’s biggest strengths as per his coaches. Janssen studies meticulously on how to function when one doesn’t have possession and applies it on the field. He keeps things simple on the pitch and works hard for the team.
Two-footed: He is very comfortable on both feet – a trait which is so desirable in the EPL, where you won’t necessarily have the time nor space to shift the ball on to your favourite foot. This also makes him very unpredictable – the defender doesn’t know whether he will cut inside or opt to go around him.
Strength: Janssen’s strength on the ball is right up there. He is difficult to muscle off the ball and holds up the play very well, he can play that role of a target man – a little something that Spurs lack at times.
Passing & Pace: He is also a good passer of the ball – something which helps him create goalscoring opportunities for his teammates. He provided 4 assists in Eredivisie last season, he also has a lot of pace and acceleration about him along with finishing and a keen sense for goal. Overall, he looks like a perfect package for success in England.
Long-range shots: Janssen’s finishing from inside the penalty area is supposed to be good but it is his finishing from outside it which will worry his doubters. He has the habit of trying long-range shots unnecessarily which is frustrating for his coaches as his accuracy from range is often way off. He needs to work on improving his accuracy from distance.
Movement: Janssen often gets caught offside, casting a doubt on the timing of his movement. He was ruled offside 1.4 times per game last season – the highest in Eredivisie. He needs to badly improve the timing of his movement if he is to be effective against teams that play the offside trap well.
Ball Control: He loses possession at times when his first touch and ball control are found wanting. This is also an area where he could improve dramatically. But he’s only young and has plenty of time to learn.
Janssen has been described his mentors as an exemplary student of the game who does not dream about playing for Real Madrids or Barcelonas of this world but for his national team. Indeed, he made his debut for Holland and also scored his first goal for his country in a friendly against England earlier this year, thanks to a breakthrough season with Alkmaar.
There will be concerns about him moving to an English club. While there are successful examples like Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie there are also the failures. Kluivert failed at Newcastle while Luuk de Jong did not score a single goal during his loan spell at the Toons. Janssen’s deal with Alkmaar runs out in 2019 but it seems like he is set to be poached by an ambitious club like Tottenham Hotspurs. He will only improve as a player from here on if he keeps his work ethic going.