Once-talented Dutch prospects have lost two crucial years of their development, according to legendary midfielder Ruud Gullit, who implies Chelsea and Manchester City have failed in their responsibility to sufficiently nurture young footballers into top-level athletes.
Gullit was speaking to Voetbal Zone over whether in-demand 20-year-old winger Memphis Depay should leave PSV Eindhoven in order to challenge himself in the Premier League, should one of Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur make their interest in the World Cup star official by placing a bid.
Gullit points to other young talents who risk being forgotten following wrong choices made at the start of what could have been an extraordinary upward career trajectory, noting the struggles Karim Rekik and Nathan Ake have endured.
"Peers like Rekik or Ake prove how it can go if you do not play at clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City - you fall behind two years," the 52-year-old said.
Recently, Depay was asked whether he missed training alongside players of the calibre of the Dutch national team.
"I've been asked that question a hundred times and I'm not going to answer it," he said to NOS. "It remains to be seen, but for now I'm staying in Eindhoven."