The start of the 2023-24 Premier League campaign presents the beginning of another new era for Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs are starting the season with a fresh face in the dugout as former Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou was appointed as Antonio Conte’s successor earlier this summer.
The Australian had a hugely successful stint up in Scotland, winning five trophies in his two years at Celtic Park — including a treble last season — and the majority of Spurs fans are feeling confident ahead of the new campaign after seeing Postecoglou’s exciting brand of football in pre-season even if they aren’t fancied in the Premier League top 4 odds.
It’s been a busy summer for the club, with seven signings made at the time of writing. Pedro Porro and Dejan Kulusevski had their loans made permanent, while James Maddison, Guglielmo Vicario, Ashley Phillips, Manor Solomon and Micky van de Ven are the new faces that have been added to the fold.
The latter is Spurs’ newest addition, setting the North London side back £43m, but he adds some much-needed quality to their defence. Not everyone will be familiar with the young Dutchman, however, so let’s take a look at his career to date and what he can offer Tottenham in the coming season.
Van de Ven started his career in the Netherlands with Volendam, coming through their youth ranks before graduating to the senior squad in 2019. He made 19 appearances in the 2019-20 Eerste Divisie, the second tier of Dutch football, before featuring 26 times the following season as Volendam reached the play-offs but were beaten in the first round by NAC Breda.
Van de Ven captained the side in the second half of the season and his performances earned him a £3.15 million move to Wolfsburg. He was largely on the bench during his first season in the Bundesliga, while a hamstring injury left him sidelined entirely for two months. He made five appearances overall, three of which were at left-back in the last three games of the season.
The 22-year-old quickly became one of Wolfsburg’s most crucial players, however, as he went from a bit-part player to a regular feature in the blink of an eye. He started in all but one of their 34 league games as they finished eighth in the Bundesliga last season.
Van de Ven is yet to make his senior appearance for the Netherlands. But he was included in the preliminary squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and if he gets off to a good start in a Tottenham shirt then Ronald Koeman could call upon the 22-year-old for the Oranje’s upcoming games against Greece and the Republic of Ireland as the Netherlands look to carry on their unbeaten run in Euro 2024 qualifying.
Van de Ven represented his country at the European Under-21 Championship this summer, starting all three of their games and even captaining the Netherlands against Georgia. However, they failed to make it out of Group A as they drew against Belgium, Portugal and the aforementioned Georgia.
What does he offer Spurs?
Spurs are in desperate need of cover defensively and Van de Ven will be a welcome addition to Postecoglou’s side. He’s a tall (6ft 3in) and physical centre-back, which should see him perfectly suited to the Premier League, while he also clocked the fastest speed for a central defender in the Bundesliga last season — with his 35.97km/h the joint-ninth fastest speed recorded in the entire division.
Those assets mean that he doesn’t lose many physical duels or races with forwards, but he’s also good with the ball at his feet. He’s not the type of defender that is going to spray passes around beautifully, but Van de Ven is very good in possession and can use his stature to protect the ball from opponents and his speed to run out of dangerous situations.