PSV striker will turn 21 in January. However, he is already leading the Eredivisie scoring race and is one of 20 contenders for the Golden Boy award, which is presented annually to the best young football player in Europe. In the meantime, a queue of European top clubs is lining up behind the striker of the “light bulbs”. The scouts of Barcelona and Liverpool are slowly starting to look closely at the talented striker. In turn, the head coach of the Dutch national team, Ronald Koeman, is gradually pulling the player up to the base of the country’s main team. The weekly Football tells the story of the new leader of the Brabant club.
“Club of Thirty”
This season PSV is acting in a manner familiar to itself. The attacking 4-3-3 formation in the course of matches, if necessary, is modified into 4-2-1-3. Nevertheless, such an arrangement implies, even in the transition to the defense, the three attackers at the fore.
At the same time, in the final stage, a triangle is formed led by Malen, where just below Doniell there are fast flanks with Bruma and Bergwijn at the edges.
At the start of the Eredivisie, the club from Eindhoven is second in both points scored (23) and goals scored (26). In both cases, only Ajax is ahead of the Brabant.
At home stadium, Phillips defeated Venlo and Vitesse with a total difference of 9: 1. Moreover, if “BBB” once managed to break through the goalkeeper Jeroen Zut (4: 1), then Leonid Slutsky’s team had a very difficult time – defeat 0: 5 and harsh criticism of the Russian specialist from Arnhem fans.
In that game, Malen was the protagonist of the match. All five goals of the team were scored by the young striker.
The hosts’ forward did everything he wanted on the field: he ran away from the defenders in a counterattack, clearly chose a position in the penalty area, keeping in sight possible rebounds from the goalkeeper, twice approached the penalty spot and forced Vitesse, who had been among the championship leaders before this match, to capitulate …
On that evening in Eindhoven, the audience witnessed a historic event. The last time to make a pent-trick as part of PSV was only midfielder Bert Theunissen, back in 1964.
In general, only 29 players were able to score five or more goals in one game of the Eredivisie. Thus, Malen joined the elite “club of the thirty”, where he joined such footballers as Marco van Basten or Kuhn Dillen.
Doniell Malen began his football career with Ajax. Nimble, technical, with a good shot – he quickly made tangible progress and got accustomed to the Arsenal scouts in the summer of 2015.
At that time, Arsene Wenger, who was still the head of the Gunners, personally asked Andris Jonker (the head of the London club’s academy) to sign a talented striker. The Amsterdamites did their best to keep the young talent in the academy, but the striker himself was against it.
“Doniell is a great talent, it’s a pity that he is leaving Ajax. We made a great offer to Malen, presented a plan. But the player made his choice, ”said Wim Jonk, who is responsible for the development of young footballers at the club. As a result, the striker left Amsterdam, and local fans called him a traitor.
Three English clubs fought for the player at once, including Manchester United and Chelsea. Nevertheless, Doniell chose Arsenal, because the idols of his childhood – Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry – played for the Gunners.
Having worked for several months under the guidance of Dutch specialist Frans de Kath in the U-18 team, the 16-year-old striker made his debut for the youth team in November. And already in 2017, the footballer was involved in the pre-season training camp with the main team under the leadership of Arsene Wenger.
In total, for the entire English stage of his career, Doniell scored 27 goals in 67 matches. However, after the tournament in Shanghai, where the Londoners were preparing for the start of the championship, the head coach unexpectedly unhooked Doniell from the squad, sending the 18-year-old guy back to Holland.
There Malen joined the principal rival of his former club, PSV. The whistle of fans in face-to-face confrontations with Ajax has now been added to the status of a traitor.
Brabant start and national team debut
The footballer’s agent is the controversial Spaniard Mino Raiola. He who loves to cheat the price tag on his customers, receiving considerable percentages from the sale of football players – this time he did not overestimate the cost for PSV.
Knowing the forward’s potential, Mino decided to wait, thereby allowing the Brabant to acquire a striker for just half a million pounds. By the way, the compensation prescribed in Malena’s contract now amounts to 50 million.
In Eindhoven, Malen was initially seen as a rotation player, coming out mainly as replacements at the end of matches. However, even this factor did not stop Doniell.
In the first two seasons, the striker played 35 matches in which he scored ten goals and gave five assists. And already at the beginning of this year, having played only ten meetings, he almost repeated the indicators for the previous year and a half. The young player has ten goals and three assists in ten matches.
It is not surprising that the forward attracted the attention of the head coach of the national team, Ronald Koeman, with his assertiveness and speed of attacking actions. In the qualifying round match for the European Championship against Germany, the 56-year-old specialist released Malen as a substitute at the end of an hour of play.
Twenty minutes later, the striker scored the winning goal against Manuel Neuer. In this episode, the main role was played by one of Doniell’s key qualities – positioning. The young forward knows exactly where he should be at one time or another.
Despite Wijnaldum’s more winning role in this attack, Malen still ran a parallel course with the midfielder, eventually waiting for a hidden pass from his partner. As a result, the Dutch took important points from Hamburg, and now they lead Group C and are close to a direct entry to the Euro.
In PSV, the player has the same situation – he does not like to play a clean tip of attacks, although head coach Phillip Koku transferred him to the center-forward position this season. Malen’s function rather involves connections from the depths, where he can give up the gear or maintain a second pace in time.
Reception of the ball, mobility, vision of the field – the young footballer repeatedly finds himself one step ahead of the opponent’s defenders. All these qualities allow Malen to lead the Eredivisie bombing race right now and to be included in the list of contenders for the annual Golden Boy award.
The player’s transfer value is currently € 18 million. However, in the near future, the price of a football player may increase significantly, given the extension of the contract with PSV until 2024.
The main thing is that in the future, when it comes to moving to a top club, his agent again does not break the fabulous “tip”, as was the case with the transfer of Doniell’s teammate Matthijs de Ligt. Largely due to the demands of Raiola, Barça then refused to buy the 19-year-old defender.
If Raiola does not throw out another “20%” trick with commissions, next summer Malen is likely to become one of the headliners of the European transfer window.