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Ranking the most expensive Dutch footballers of all time

Dutch football has long produced exciting talent, with clubs across Europe having often spent big on footballers from the Netherlands.

This summer Dutch players are once again in high demand, with Bayern Munich closing in on the signing of Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus for an initial fee of €70m.


Manchester United also continue to chase a deal for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, two transfers which could soon be among the costliest ever involving natives of the Netherlands.

Ahead of those potential transfers, we look at the five most expensive Dutch footballers of all time.

5. Donny van de Beek – Ajax to Manchester United (£35m)

Manchester United secured the signing of Donny van de Beek in 2020, agreeing a £35m deal to bring the Ajax midfielder to the Premier League.

Van de Beek made 175 senior appearances for Ajax, scoring 41 goals, and formed part of the team that reached the 2018/19 Champions League semi-finals.

The Dutch international had been signed to add creativity and goal threat to the Red Devils’ midfield, but struggled to make an impression given the presence of Bruno Fernandes.

Van de Beek made just four league starts for the club across his opening 18 months in England, before joining Everton on loan for the second half of the 2021/22 campaign.

After a frustrating spell at Everton, he will hope to kick-start his career with United following the appointment of former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford.

4. Nathan Ake – Bournemouth to Manchester City (£41m)

Manchester City strengthened their defensive options with the addition of Nathan Ake in 2020, capitalising on Bournemouth’s relegation to reach an agreement with the centre-back.

Ake had impressed since joining Bournemouth from Chelsea, before joining City in a £41m deal. The Dutch international has provided depth across his two seasons at the Etihad, but has struggled to command a regular role and has made just 19 league starts for the club.

The 27-year-old has won back-to-back Premier League titles at the Etihad, in addition to winning 27 caps for the Netherlands at international level.

3. Frenkie de Jong – Ajax to Barcelona (£65m)

Barcelona won the race to sign Frenkie de Jong in 2019, moving quickly to agree a deal for the promising Ajax midfielder.

De Jong had shone since coming through the fabled academy ranks in Amsterdam, with his ability to read the game and press-resistant manner of football winning admirers across Europe.

The Spanish side struck a deal worth an initial £65m in January, before De Jong moved to Catalonia at the end of the 2018/19 campaign, having helped Ajax to a domestic double and the Champions League semi-finals.

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The 25-year-old has since made 140 appearances across three seasons at the Camp Nou and could yet find himself included in these rankings for a second time this summer, as Manchester United continue to pursue a deal for the Dutchman.

2. Matthijs de Ligt – Ajax to Juventus (£67.8m)

De Ligt is on the verge of moving into these rankings for a second time, with Bayern Munich having agreed a deal worth an initial €70m for the Juventus defender.

The centre-back signed for Juventus for a fee of £67.8m in 2019, having captained the Ajax side that reached the Champions League’s last four under Erik ten Hag in 2018/19.

Named as winner of the Golden Boy in 2018 – becoming the first defender to win the accolade – De Ligt broke into the Ajax side as a teenager and became the club’s youngest ever captain.

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He won the Serie A title during his debut season at Juventus, but the Bianconeri have since seen their dominance of the division ended and have slumped to consecutive fourth-placed finishes.

After 117 appearances across three seasons with the Italian side, he now looks set for a new challenge in the Bundesliga.

1. Virgil van Dijk – Southampton to Liverpool (£75m)

Virgil van Dijk is the most expensive Dutch footballer of all time, having joined Liverpool in a £75m deal in January 2018.

The deal was a world-record fee for a defender at that time, with the Reds having identified the Southampton centre-back as the man to fix their defensive issues.

Van Dijk has since had a huge impact at Anfield, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Champions League among his honours, while reaching the final of the latter competition on three occasions.

The Netherlands captain was named as the PFA Player of the Year during the 2018/19 season, becoming just the third defender to win the accolade in the Premier League era, before finishing as runner-up to Lionel Messi for the 2019 Ballon d’Or.

He has made 181 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool and remains a pivotal part of the club’s plans under Jurgen Klopp.

Read – Five high-profile PL players whose contracts expire in 2023

Read Also – Ranking the most expensive English footballers of all time

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