English clubs 'great white sharks'

Beenhakker slams Blues' Ake pursuit

December 22, 2010
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Feyenoord sporting director Leo Beenhakker has hit out at Chelsea after they lured talented 15-year-old defender Nathan Ake away from the Netherlands, labelling the Premier League's elite clubs "great white sharks".

Leo Beenhakker Feyenoord
GettyImagesFeyenoord chief Leo Beenhakker is unhappy with the conduct of Chelsea and their Premier League rivals

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Beenhakker has been left outraged with what he views to be improper conduct by the Blues in their pursuit of the Feyenoord teenager, who had not yet signed his first professional contract.

Ake will join Chelsea in February after the reigning Premier League champions agreed a £300,000 compensation deal with Feyenoord, but former Ajax, Real Madrid and Netherlands manager Beenhakker is unhappy at the way the deal went through, accusing England's top clubs of being predatory in the transfer market.

"What can you do? English clubs are the great white sharks of football. Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are all in the game," Beenhakker said. "We had a wonderful deal for Nathan, but the lad wanted only one thing: Chelsea. It's game over for us.

"I've discussed this matter with Nathan and his parents. He told me that he really wanted to move to England and his parents were OK with his decision.

"It's obviously bad news for Feyenoord. We can't do anything about it if a foreign club comes up to sign one of our youngsters. The Premier League clubs spoil the market with their behaviour. Other clubs in Europe aren't doing this kind of thing, but the English sides just don't care."

Ake, who is Netherlands Under-17 captain, was also being closely monitored by Manchester City, but he will join compatriot Jeffrey Bruma at Chelsea - another defender who the Blues poached from Feyenoord.

The Dutch club also lost 16-year-old midfielder Kyle Ebecilio to Arsenal last summer, but Beenhakker and Feyenoord are not alone in their frustration; Manchester United signed highly-rated Dutch Under-16 international Gyliano van Velzen from the Ajax academy last season, much to the consternation of the Eredivisie giants.

Chelsea found themselves under FIFA's spotlight last season after being reprimanded for the manner in which they signed precocious midfielder Gael Kakuta from Lens.