You have to feel for Marcel Brands.
The Everton Director of Football reportedly had a deal to sign PSV full-back Denzel Dumfries in the bag before Euro 2020 started. Brands, who used to work at PSV, saw Dumfries as the perfect replacement for club legend Seamus Coleman.
Now it may not be so easy.
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Torschütze Denzel Dumfries (rechts) und Vorbereiter Donyell Malen bejubeln das 2:0 der Niederlande gegen Österreich

Image credit: Getty Images

This is because Dumfries has put in two outstanding performances in the Netherlands’ opening matches of Euro 2020. He has scored in each match and generally caused havoc for the opposition down the right flank.
With the freedom of the entire wing in Frank De Boer’s 3-4-1-2 system, Dumfries, who was named after Denzel Washington, has been absolutely electric and has demonstrated that he is more than capable of fulfilling the role of a modern wing-back at the highest level.
And that is bad news for Everton because you can be sure that there will be more interest from clubs looking to acquire the services of Dumfries. Already after the first match reports have emerged that new Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann sees Dumfries as the perfect fit in his back three system with Benjamin Pavard more likely to shuffle over to centre-back.
In an interview with Dutch outlet Voetbal International, in January the new Dutch hero spoke highly of both domestic leagues in England and Germany saying “I do feel that, as a footballer and as a person, I am ready to take the next step abroad.
“The Premier League and the Bundesliga, they suit my game. I can see the headlines again, but I think I can say this and I think everyone can see that I am ready to move on.”
Speaking of suiting his game, Serie A winners Inter Milan are also reportedly interested as a replacement for Moroccan international Achraf Hakimi. It depends on what system new Inter manager Simone Inzaghi uses but like Nagelsmann a back three could be perfect for Dumfries.
It is a foregone conclusion that he will leave PSV, but he has said he won’t think about his future until after the European Championships. Whoever signs him is going to get an incredible bargain given that he reportedly has a release clause of just €15 million. Of course they’re also going to have to deal with his agent, Mino Raiola.
However for just €15 million you can get a 25-year-old right-back who can also play wing-back and even higher up the pitch. His defensive skills are more than good enough that he could be used as a right-sided central defender. It’s remarkable value in the era of inflated transfer fees.
Because Dumfries really can do everything. He is sound defensively and reads the game really well. He’s good in the air and has a wicked cross on him. And if an opposing team wants to play a suicidally high-line like Austria did on Thursday, he's’ more than happy to exploit it.
He has also shown during this tournament that he has the second sense for goalscoring that is important for modern wing-backs. No-one expects 20-goal seasons but they are expected to chip in.
Of course there will be some concerns about transitioning from the Eredivisie but Dumfries has had to fight to make it to the top in Holland. He wasn’t part of the big academies as a kid and he even played a couple of friendlies for Aruba whilst still holding out for his dream of playing for the Netherlands.

Netherlands' defender Denzel Dumfries celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group C football match between the Netherlands and Austria at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on June 17, 2021.

Image credit: Getty Images

That dream has come true and next month you would imagine that he will make a big move to one of Europe’s best, which club it ends up being will be very interesting to watch.
For now he will be a key part of a Dutch team that has so far exceeded expectations and has already secured their progress to the second round. After such disastrous management spells in the past, De Boer has started this tournament very well, the 3-4-1-2 getting the best out of a lot of the Netherlands’ players.
The entire vibe around the squad seems one of serenity, perhaps a sensation that comes when pretty much everyone had written you off. The Dutch are playing with the fearlessness of no expectations but there is an inner steel of wanting to prove people wrong.
Can they win the entire tournament? That seems unlikely with teams like Italy, France, Portugal and Belgium looking strong but they are certainly going to be making more noise than we previously thought. This can be a building block for Qatar next year, when Virgil van Dijk returns and some of the younger players like Dumfries and his club teammate Donyell Malan can get another year’s experience.
This year, they’re having fun and they’re making a name. Don’t write them off just yet, and make sure you are tuned in to watch.
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