Twelve million Ejuke redeems Heerenveen: ‘A win-win situation

Friday was an important day for sc Heerenveen. With the transfer of Chidera Ejuke to CSKA Moscow for about twelve million euros, the Frisian premier league club can breathe a sigh of relief. And so did technical manager Gerry Hamstra.

With a deficit of six million euros on the budget for the past financial year, Heerenveen was in a pretty tight spot. “We can now fill that gap.”

Only Sulejmani and Alves yielded more

The transfer of Ejuke earned Heerenveen the second-to-second highest transfer fee in club history, after the transfers of Miralem Sulejmani to Ajax in July 2008 (16.25 million) and Afonso Alves to Middlesbrough in January 2008 (17 million).

Hamstra: “This is a big transfer for Heerenveen. We often sell to the Dutch top, last year we sold Michel Vlap to Anderlecht in Belgium and now to a club from a big league like the Russian one. A milestone.”

With closing the gap in the budget and percentages of the transfer fee for the management and the old club of Ejuke, there will be no astronomical amount left for Heerenveen to reinvest, at most a few million.

Space for much needed reinforcements

But anything better than deep in the red. “I’m glad we can do something,” Hamstra continues. Without the millions for Ejuke, Hamstra would have had a problem, the technical manager acknowledges. Now he can finally do some serious work on reinforcements. Because they are needed.

The results in the preparation spoke volumes. Heerenveen suffered only defeats against NAC (1-0), Vitesse (2-1), De Graafschap (5-1) and FC Utrecht (4-1). After the game with De Graafschap, captain Veerman called publicly for reinforcements, for better players to be understood.

“Of course I had worries too, but I wasn’t surprised by the results”, says Hamstra. “We have good players, like Ibrahim Dresevic, Joey Veerman, Mitchell van Bergen. But it has to be wider. We are not yet at full strength. The group is too narrow.”

With the recruitment of Henk Veerman, Hamstra struck the first blow earlier on Friday, in anticipation of the income for Ejuke. “With Veerman we have our striker inside. We are looking for a second goalkeeper, a central defender, two midfielders and an outside player. Those positions are the spearheads. I’m confident we’ll get the selection up to scratch.”

Hamstra goes back to last year when the club Ejuke managed to tie up at Norwegian Vรฅlerenga. “We did have expectations that he could become a crowd-puller with his dribbles,” says the technical manager. “He turned out to be a bull’s-eye.”

It also keeps looking for a new pearl like Ejuke. “But there aren’t many of them,” Hamstra knows. That’s why it’s not just a party at Heerenveen because of the millions for Ejuke. “I have mixed feelings,” says Hamstra. “We’re losing a super player.”