In the summer of 2017, Donyell Malen had a decision to make, one that would shape his footballing career.
He had not made a Premier League appearance in two years at Arsenal but he was still highly regarded by Arsene Wenger and the Gunners wanted to extend his contract. PSV Eindhoven were banging on his door too, however, offering quicker access to first-team football albeit in a much smaller league.
But one conversation with Marcel Brands, PSV’s esteemed sporting director, made up Malen’s mind in an instant. He was heading back to Holland.
“I am quite an emotional person. If I feel something then that is clear for me. After a conversation with Marcel, I felt really good. Here I can improve and grow,” the young striker told the PSV website after deciding to walk away from North London.
Two years on, Malen is in demand again.
There were many who doubted whether Malen, who spent most of last season as an impact sub, was capable of replacing the reigning Eredivisie Golden Boot winner when Luuk de Jong left for Sevilla in the summer.
But after being handed a starting role and De Jong’s number 9 shirt, Malen has repaid the faith with a remarkable 11 goals in 14 games this season. He became the first player in eight years to score five in a single Eredivisie match against Vitesse Arnhem and he came to PSV’s rescue to snatch a point against title rivals Ajax last weekend too. There was even a late strike on his Holland debut in a famous 4-2 win against Germany in Hamburg.
The Mail claims that Arsenal want to bring Malen back to the Emirates but they face competition from Everton for a player who’s price-tag has soared from £500,000 to £50 million in just two years.
But who is pulling the strings and guiding recruitment at Goodison Park these days?
The Toffees are crying out for a natural-born goalscorer and, thanks to Brands, their wish could come true very soon.
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