Another Chapter of Craziness – The Transfer of Kenneth Perez

PSV Eindhoven and Ajax Amsterdam are the more likely rivals these days in the Eredivisie although I suspect that ‘de Klassieker’ (‘The Classic’) rivalry with the Rotterdam club still commanded the same sort of fiery passion (I don’t think the same affects the teams’ performance on the pitch; more rather the fans). You may want to read a pretty informative write-up here to know about what I’m talking about.

The Eredivisie neutrals may also see that PSV pretty much dominated the Dutch domestic league and have a rather good run-out in European tournaments whereas the larger Amsterdam rival are content to play for a qualifying spot; failing to do so and then sack their coach after another string of indifferent results in the Eredivisie. It may be in danger of becoming a foregone conclusion come the beginning of each season but Ajax do always have the uncanny ability to win the Dutch Super Cup and beating PSV year in year out in this prelude of the season which do not attract the same sort of attention even accorded to the English Community Shield.

Right now, Ajax are doing quite well in the Eredivisie as are Feyenoord with PSV not really maintaining a vice-like grip on the title as of the previous years. I feel that competition can only be good for these teams as they need some form of European dominance to improve the standard of Dutch football, never mind that foreigners in these teams seemingly able to grab most of the headlines which permeated the successes of these teams.

I think that not many know this Kenneth Perez guy. I, for one am not really familiar with this player. All I do know is that he used to play for a resurgent AZ Alkmaar side coached by Co Adriaanse and then Louis van Gaal; that he makes a really lousy player in the Pro Evolution Soccer games since PES 5; and that he is quite a lazy but talented freekick specialist player as judged by the ‘scouts’ of the famous soccer managerial series ‘Football Manager‘.

From what little I could see of him, particularly in the UEFA Champions League, I think that he is quite a good finisher and certainly no pushover. He’s serious talent and hardly looked the part of the relatively low ‘work rate’ rating in the Football Manager games. In fact, he possesses a good shot and positional sense which can be of benefit to teams looking to dictate the tempo and seize the initiative on lesser teams. If you have looked at the Wikipedia site, he was only involved in 10 first team matches but scored an awesome total of 4 goals whilst doing so.

While I do think that PSV are primarily composed of players who certainly do not make for familiar reading amongst football enthusiasts everywhere, they have not really been scraping the bottom of the cider barrel either. So, while Kenneth Perez is not actively staking a claim for first team starts under new interim coach Jan Wouters, (before the arrival of Huub Stevens) I thought that he could make a really useful utility player who can easily slot into the first team and may make a good deal of difference especially when PSV do not spend serious money in the transfer market and relied on good ol’ Dutch pragmatic approach to life matters. We can only remember that Perez was roped in by former PSV and now Valencia CF coach, Ronald Koeman after the Danish international cited some serious backroom conflict with former Ajax coach Henk ten Cate who now draws his wages from Chelski.

Imagine my disbelief when I read this piece of news from a dedicated Ajax fansite. (For the record, little news of this has been carried by the major football sites). It’s strange not only because this transfer saga involves two fierce rivals who may not wish to yield too much of talent to either adversary and safeguard their own successes but because Perez only joined PSV less than half a year ago. Add this to the fact that Perez was quite a good player at hindsight (after his PSV transfer) and letting such players go is not clever.

 PSV director Jan Reker was apparently hard pressed by disgruntled PSV fans to explain this funny piece of transfer tidbit. Reker explained that Ajax was following PSV fledgling starlet Ismail Aissati for a time now and Aissati’s contract renewal before the new year meant that Ajax’s interest would have to go to bed for now. The next target of raid would have to be Kenneth Perez. I was dumbfounded by this sort of pacifism shown by a PSV official. What did he mean by saying that because a rival failed to sign a star, this entitled the rival to sign another player from the same club? If the case is for me, I’d not entertain any transfer interest from a rival. I’d tell Ajax of Amsterdam to screw off and take the ‘big club’ false front to the sword. Irony in life is something not easy to take when things are not going so well and PSV’s season is not going the same pattern of the years before. They’d need all the players they can get for a tough and closely fought season ahead. In fact, no PSV January recruits looked likely (they have rejected Ooijer’s return to PSV) and this may further enforce the need to hang on to whatever available players they have on hand.

And what of the main protagonist in this transfer saga? He was quoted as saying that he has to commute very far from his home in Noord-Holland (North Holland) to somewhere in the south where the industrial city of Eindhoven is. What a load of bull! Would this be the standard of so-called professionals these days? If you’re a professional, you accept that when you sign for another club there is an obligation to fulfill the contract to the letter.This may mean the seemingly trivial sacrifices made to daily routine and some conveniences which they think they may need. After all, they are the most disgustingly paid individuals in the world today after movie stars and I think that money can solve some inconveniences to a certain degree. Next, he stated that since Ismail Aissati has already penned a new long-term contract, first-team opportunities would be as frequent as Asians having stamppot for lunch.

Shocking behaviour. Add this to the fact that Perez has always maintained his love for the Amsterdam club. Then what the hell was PSV doing with poking their noses into a player whose loyalty is suspect and that his integrity was only as solid as far as dependency on inter-human relations are in concern (his spat with Henk ten Cate was his primary reason for moving to PSV in the first place).

PSV, as usual, looked for a silver lining in the grey clouds. They claimed that they wanted to ‘ensure that their younger players get the opportunity to develop their talent to full potential in the centre of midfield’. Quite hard to argue with that, is it?

First, Perez is already 33 years old. He may be an ideal candidate if Sam Allardyce is still in charge of Bolton but certainly looked unpalatable as a transfer option for many top teams worldwide. He is at the twilight of his career and only the Eredivisie may be able to help him look better than he really is at the surface.

Next, is the easy reason being that Perez’s heart is never at the Philipsstadion and I think that PSV was right in letting a ‘professional’ who always cast furtive glances elsewhere leave. PSV, as you have noticed and will notice in the future, are not a club to stand in the way of someone who cried for a transfer.

The selfish Korean Park Ji Sung is one, together with the opportunistic Lee Young Pyo; and also ex-captain Mark van Bommel who is doing quite well at Bayern Munchen these days. My point of illustration is that no player is too big for any club and that the club will somehow survive, notwithstanding the talent they would stand to miss out on.

Ajax, meanwhile are hastily looking for a replacement for huge talent Wesley Sneijder who joined Spanish giants Real Madrid. They have had a string of indifferent results in December: losing 3-1 to NAC Breda; winning 3-2 against Willem II Tilburg; famously losing 2-1 to Excelsior Rotterdam; drawing 2-2 to FC Twente Enschede; and also the same result against minnows VVV Venlo. While Perez’s role in resuscitating their title aspirations are open to needless debate, I’m quite surprised at the fact that even the richest club in the Dutch league are looking at bargain bins for their winter purchases, despite the Amsterdam club having a €15 million bid rejected by Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb for the services of highly-rated midfield playmaker Luka Modric.

It may be an interesting situation for PSV now, with their midfield positions spread thin with Finnish midfielder Mika Väyrynen looking to move to either  relegation-threatened Derby County or Rangers FC. He may be gulping down the temptation to join a club fighting for Premiership status and may be on the move in the summer 2008. Ecuadorian World Cup seasoned campaigner Edison Méndez is also tipped to leave the midfield stable to tend to his ill mother and may leave for Ecuador giants Barcelona SC. There are 2 Dutch midfielders who are somewhat living the forgotten man status: John de Jong and Tommie van der Leegte. De Jong is an injury dilemma who is one of the old guards of the PSV setup whereas Tommie is a new recruit from German club VfL Wolfsburg. Both have not played much for PSV this season and are probably rusty around the edges for a long, grueling season ahead. PSV, however, fended off fierce interest from the Arsenal for midfield supremo Ibrahim Afellay and I see little reason for discontent.

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