Simon Gustafson 21 Midfielder Feyenoord Sweden
One of Sweden’s U21 European Championship winners, lots of people were saying the right sort of things about Gustafson and his twin brother Samuel (who is currently struggling to get anywhere near Torino’s first team). He looks the part - tall, naturally athletic, good eye for a pass and a nice turn of pace - but things haven’t gone well since the move to Feyenoord many were touting as a fine piece of business.
2016 has been…
…not enough, and with that we’re going to turn it over to someone who knows the situation far better than ourselves, Michiel Jongsma of Opta, BeNeFoot, the Guardian Football Weekly and more besides:
“In a summer that saw Feyenoord make plenty of controversial signings, one of the few the experts agreed on was the capture of Simon Gustafson. Furthermore former #IBWM100 inductee Tonny Trindade de Vilhena seemed on his way out as the Dutch midfielder was unwilling to re-new his contract, meaning Gustafson was preferred to him.
“After a successful first few months in which he showed promise the decline came. Feyenoord fell off a cliff just on the turn of the year, losing seven league games in a row and after that run, Simon Gustafson was one of the fall guys. A re-shuffle in midfield saw Dirk Kuyt move to the 10-position and Jens Toornstra filling in the right flank, with Gustafson dropped out of the team. They never looked back, to this day having lost only once in the league since. As an additional setback, the revitalized Vilhena decided to stay adding direct competition in midfield.
“All in all, Feyenoord have been stacking up options, with a lot of versatile players being preferred in either their natural position or the 10-role. This year, Gustafson has four starts in the league and since the summer he’s only been in the team twice, both times coming on as a sub. Given the type of player he is, he was initially unlucky that Michiel Kramer, a towering poacher-type, was never going to be the type of striker he’d work well with, whereas Dirk Kuyt is such an iconic player for the club that he’ll always be accommodated into the team, even as a 10 if necessary.
“The current striker (Nicolai Jørgensen) and midfield set-up in theory should be a better fit for him, but given the competition you can’t really see him getting a chance for now. It has been quite telling that in recent weeks, when Dirk Kuyt was left out of the team, Jens Toornstra moved to 10 and Steven Berghuis has been brought in at the right. A loan move seems like the best option for Gustafson to get his career back on track.”
So there you have it, out the team and a difficult path ahead to get back into it. Things aren’t looking good and it’s time to look at the options.
It wouldn’t be hard to get that loan Michiel suggests, or even a permanent move in truth. Either way he needs to finish 2017 playing football in a first team somewhere, even if that means a step down. The promise is still there but this year’s been a near disaster, hopefully happier times ahead but may need to be proactive about his future.
D Not a good year, needs to get back to being a footballer again
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