The last time a young play-maker shone so brightly in the Eredivisie, Tottenham Hotspur paid £11.5 million for him (BBC). Six years after Christian Eriksen swapped Ajax for North London, Ozan Kokcu could be about to follow in his footsteps.
Yet it is not Tottenham who are being linked with a £20 million move for arguably the most promising number ten in Dutch football since Eriksen burst onto the scene with a shock of blonde hair and a long-range rocket in his locker.
Instead, the Mail claims that local rivals Arsenal are at the front of the queue for Kokcu; a fleet-footed 18-year-old who is making his name in Rotterdam rather than Amsterdam.
The Dutch-born Turkish U21 international forced his way into the Feyenoord XI under former Arsenal left-back Giovanni Van Bronckhorst last season and he has continued his eye-catching progression under Jaap Stam, emerging from a difficult start to life under the one-time Reading boss with his reputation enhanced.
“He is a great talent,” Van Bronckhorst said a year ago.
He certainly is and, even at just 18, it seems that Kokcu is ready to follow the likes of Gini Wijnaldum, Eriksen and co to the Premier League.An attacking midfielder capable of carving apart a defence with a killer pass, he could fill a Mesut Ozil-shaped void in Unai Emery’s attack while providing the kind of youthful enthusiasm that the languid German lost years ago.
Kokcu has just four goals in 19 Eredivisie games to his name so far, a record of one-in-five, but he was the top scorer for Feyenoord’s U19s two seasons ago. A few hours on the training ground perfecting his finishing skills and Kokcu, who is already capable of working a goalkeeper from anywhere around the box, will be dangerously close to becoming the complete package.
But only time can tell whether he can replicate the impact Eriksen has made in over half a decade in North London.
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