If Leeds United’s director of football, Victor Orta, was keeping an eye on the first day of the U21 European Championships, then there’s little doubt that Teun Koopmeiners would have been the plyer to catch his eye.
Reports in recent weeks and months have suggested that the AZ Alkmaar midfielder is on the radar of Marcelo Bielsa’s Premier League side, and if his display for Netherland’s U21s on Wednesday night was anything to go by, then Leeds should be all over him this summer.
Despite the Dutch side being held to a 1-1 draw against Romania, Koopmeiners stole the show in the middle of the park for the Orange, orchestrating things and dictating the tempo – he was the fulcrum behind his team enjoying a whopping 72% of the possession.
As per Sofascore, he had the most touches and passes of any player on the pitch by far (145 and 107 respectively), and it was quite telling that those high numbers weren’t just as a result of him making the simple choices – he was one of only four Dutch players on the night to deliver at least one key pass.
Koopmeiners also showed he is equally strong defensively, and isn’t just a midfield orchestrator in the mould of a Xavi. His five tackles were the second-most of any Dutch player, while he won ten of his 15 total duels, the joint-most among his teammates.
A couple of tweets from Top Bins Talk during his display really painted a picture of just how dominant he was, noting: “Teun Koopmeiners looks like a man amongst boys for the Dutch U21s. Really feel that his spell at CB for AZ did him the world of good – he always paints a picture before receiving the ball, is so measured in his decision making, and constantly anticipates danger. A lovely player.
“He’s back in a deeper midfield position for club (and country) and he creates so much time and space for himself on the ball. Always scanning his surroundings, drifting into smart areas, and so calm in possession. Expect him to have a long list of admirers this summer.”
Given how Bielsa has really struggled to find genuine quality cover for Kalvin Phillips when he has been out injured – Pascal Struijk has usually been his go-to man but with little success – Koopmeiners showed on Wednesday that he could well be the man to fill that void.
Orta would surely have been left very impressed with the Dutchman’s midfield masterclass on Wednesday.