Rangers fans have seen their club linked to a trio of young Dutch talents currently plying their trade in the Eredivisie ahead of the new season.

Heerenveen midfielder Joey Veerman, Vitesse Arnhem defender Danilho Doekhi and Sparta Rotterdam’s Dutch U21 star Abdou Harroui have all at some stage been linked with Ibrox.

Rangers v Aberdeen - Scottish Premiership

Reports are suggesting Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is targeting players from the Dutch Eredivisie. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We’ve seen the Gers use the Belgian market to their advantage in recent seasons, bringing Ianis Hagi and Kemar Roofe to Glasgow from KRC Genk and Anderlecht respectively.

KV Oostende forward Fashion Sakala has also signed a pre-contract at Ibrox ahead of next season.

With the Belgian top-flight set to merge with the Dutch, it seems an obvious transition to begin looking at talent in the Netherlands.

But just how likely a destination is Rangers for any of the Eredivisie trio mentioned above as the club continues its pursuit of quality reinforcements ahead of a Champions League charge?

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We spoke to Dutch football expert James Rowe – who has 15 years of experience watching and writing about the Eredivisie and five years conducting interviews with leading figures in the country – about all three players, their talents and whether or not he can see any or all of them at Ibrox.

Joey Veerman

“Joey Veerman has taken big strides over the last season or so at Heerenveen and he continues to impress some of the top clubs in the Netherlands, so it’s no surprise he’s being linked to Rangers.

“A talented midfielder with a wide range of passing, at 22, Veerman may well be ready to take the next step in his development elsewhere.

“However, there is a cliché in the Netherlands regarding players from the Dutch town of Voldendam, from where Veerman originates.

“This concerns players from this region struggling to settle elsewhere and whilst the midfielder is certainly an interesting prospect a move within the Netherlands appears more likely.

SC Heerenveen v FC Utrecht - Dutch Eredivisie

Rangers have been extensively linked to Dutch midfielder Joey Veerman. (Photo by Pieter van der Woude/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

“It’s interesting that at present he isn’t near the Dutch set-up and I believe it’s more likely he’ll move within the Netherlands to the likes of AZ Alkmaar.”

Rangers have been extensively linked to Joey Veerman by Voetbal International with the Scottish Sun reiterating the claims. Ajax, PSV and Atalanta have also been linked.

Danilho Doekhi

“It’s been an impressive rise for Danilho Doekhi who has taken large steps in his development over the last season in particular.

“Whilst he’s a powerful defender it’s also interesting to note that the centre-back doesn’t get many yellow or red cards and has good discipline.

“Similar to Veerman, talk of an exit from Dutch football may well be premature and I believe the defender still has room to grow on Dutch shores.

“There’s been talk of the Premier League too, but it’s interesting to consider the transfer of Donny van der Beek to Manchester United.

Vitesse v Ajax - KNVB Cup Final

Reported Rangers target Danilho Doekhi impressed in the Eredivisie with Vitesse Arnhem this season. (Photo by Gerrit van Keulen/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

“He was a key player for Ajax over the years – I can even remember his first goal – yet he has barely played at Old Trafford.

“When I speak to a lot of managers and players, they focus on the fact that if these young Dutch players are to move on then they need game time.

 

“I think a lot of people are realising this in the Netherlands and I’m not convinced at his age, Doekhi will move out of the country.”

Ex-Ajax youth Danilho Doekhi was first linked to Rangers in the UK by Football Insider before links appeared in Dutch paper Der Gelderlander as well as the Telegraph.

Norwich City and Newcastle United have also been mentioned as interested parties in the player, who was with the Dutch squad who reached the semi-finals of the European U21 championships.

Abdou Harroui

“Abdou Harroui is an interesting one and he has done well to bounce back from difficulties at the beginning of last season.

“The creative midfielder was set for a move to FC Groningen which collapsed for one reason or another and it isn’t always easy to come back from this.

“Yet Harroui has had an impressive season for Sparta Rotterdam, scoring goals from midfield and going to the U21 European Championships with the Netherlands.

“But that failed Groningen moves once again gives an insight into the career direction Harroui is likely to take, even if he is now 23.

Training Holland U21 -U21 Men

Dutch midfielder Abdou Harroui is another young player from the Netherlands linked to Rangers. (Photo by Peter Lous/Soccrates/Getty Images)

“I expect all three of this Eredivisie trio will stay in the Netherlands and – sorry Rangers fans – I’d be very surprised if any of them left the Eredivisie this summer.”

Football Insider claim that Harroui reportedly caught the eye of the Rangers scouting department during the recent Euro U21 semi-final v the Netherlands and Germany.

The Ibrox said were also said to be watching German youth Salih Ozcan, who has been touted as a potential Glen Kamara replacement should the Finn leave Ibrox.

How has Rangers’ rise under Steven Gerrard been received in Holland?

“Rangers are always well respected in the Netherlands and highly thought of, mostly due to the success of Dick Advocaat at the club.

“His time at Rangers and what he done at Rangers remains well thought of in football circles here and the club definitely has a legacy in the Netherlands as a result.

“As for Steven Gerrard, he was one of the best players certainly I’ve ever seen and as an Englishman – although I’ve stayed in my adopted home for over 15 years – I’m delighted to see him doing well.

Dick Advocaat’s time at Rangers has left a lasting impression in the Netherlands. Mandatory Credit: Mark Thompson/ALLSPORT

“Even at Spurs they are looking outside of the country for their next manager, so it’s great to see a young English manager in Steven do so well at an iconic club with a huge history in his first job in management.

“But yeah Rangers are still viewed as a big club in the Netherlands and people are well aware of the great job Steven Gerrard is doing in Glasgow.”

James Rowe is a Dutch football expert based in Amsterdam with over 15 years of experience working and reporting on the beautiful game in the Netherlands and five years interviewing professional players and managers at all levels of world football.

You can visit his Twitter account is @JamesRoweNL and you can read more of his work via the Secret Footballer or Football CFB.

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