Over the years the Dutch league has been home to some of the great Premier League flops. The Netherlands national side is one of the best in the world and has been for several years, yet the club football in Holland is not of a similar standard and Dutch clubs often take a backseat to the European giants from Spain, Italy and of course England. There have been several names that have excelled in the Eredivisie but have not been able to cut it in the Premier League. You just have to look at Ryan Babel and Dirk Kuyt to see that those who experience goal scoring success in Holland do not always do so in the Premier League. And then there is the best example of all; Mateja Kezman.
Kezman was one of the first names to join the Chelsea revolution and was going to usher the west London club into a new age, taking them to the heights of European football. That was the plan when the Serbian striker joined the Blues from PSV Eindhoven fir £5.3 million in the summer of 2004; however Kezman failed, and failed emphatically.
Having scored an outrageous 105 league goals in 122 appearances for the Dutch outfit, Chelsea fans were understandably optimistic about the impact that the Serb would have at Stamford Bridge. Kezman faced competition from new arrivals Didier Drogba as well as fan favourite Eidur Gudjohnsen but surely he would get his chances considering his phenomenal goal scoring record?
Kezman did get opportunities at Stamford Bridge however; his opportunities were limited due to his inability to make an impact. The man who had taken Holland by storm managed only 4 league goals in his only season with the Blues and gained a reputation amongst the Chelsea faithful for not being able to hit a barn door with a banjo. He symbolised the step up in quality between the leagues and his slow start in England got the better of him as he failed to live up to his reputation and crumbled under the pressure of the Premier League.
It is however worth noting that the Serbia international did bag a crucial extra time goal in a Carling Cup final against bitter rivals Liverpool however, the goal was hardly of the highest class as Kezman bundled the ball home from close range. Kezman failed to find the net on a regular basis and the hapless striker packed his bags and left Stamford Bridge at the end of the season as José Mourinho once again reached for the chequebook.
Since leaving west London Kezman has become somewhat of a journeyman. In the last five years he has played for Atlético Madrid, Fenerbahce, Paris Saint-Germain and Zenit St. Petersburg yet has failed to recreate the reputation that he crafted in Eindhoven. The man who could have achieved everything with Chelsea has no faded off the radar and vanished into obscurity.
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