Dutchman Koopmeiners Could Take Atalanta Midfield to the Next Level

Even with the European Championships upon us, Serie A clubs have not stopped looking at improving their sides ahead of the new season.

Atalanta’s recent success in the transfer market has been exemplary and they look set to beat a host of clubs to the signing of Dutch international Teun Koopmeiners of AZ Alkmaar.

This past season, Gian Piero Gasperini has rotated his midfield pairing, with Martin De Roon and Remo Freuler frequently taking the spot of defensive midfielder.

Koopmeiners would bring a different element to La Dea’s midfield. Deployed as the hub of Alkmaar’s football engine, the Dutch international landed 15 goals along with 5 assists in the past campaign.

Primarily a defensive midfielder, Koopmeiners first standout quality is his range of passing. Always available, the Dutchman is ready to receive the ball either coming to collect from his center-backs with his back to the opposition or dropping into space, allowing him to turn into the space where he can unleash forward passes to get his team moving.

Blessed with a superlative left foot, Koopmeiners could line up alongside either Freuler or De Roon bringing a nice left / right balance to Atalanta’s midfield.

The Dutch international’s natural inclination is to play as the deepest of the midfield players, enjoying dropping in alongside the center-backs, bringing him the extra time and space to survey the field and play ahead of him allowing the midfielder to pick the pass needed at the time.

This is reflected in his stats: The past season, Koopmeiners averaged 68.8 passes a game landing a success percentage of 84.7%.

During the 2018-2019 campaign, he was moved back into central defense to bring more stability to Alkmaar’s backline and he did so seamlessly, with his composure on the ball and defensive positioning driving the team forward to a fourth-place finish.

His technique is on full display with his set pieces. During his career, he has dispatched 22 of his 26 penalty kicks and he is trusted with all free-kicks his side get. Goalkeepers beware, as the power the midfielder generates on his strike from set pieces can be ferocious.

As a defensive midfielder, Koopmeiners cannot be expected to race around in front of his defense breaking up the play. Although a strong and sound tackler, the Dutchman is not an elite athlete and can be targeted aerially or in behind if he is left exposed.

To compensate for his lack of pace, Koopmeiners relies on sound positioning and reading of the game to be in the right place to conduct any interceptions or block passing lanes, allowing his teammates to recover and get back into defensive formation.

In comparison to his compatriot De Roon, the Dutchman averaged 2.7 tackles a game, 1.0 Interceptions and 1.5 clearances in the league against De Roon’s 1.9 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 0.7 clearances a game.

This defensive output, combined with his ability on the ball and contributions to goalscoring, really highlights the talent of this midfield maestro.

Atalanta’s ascent to the upper echelons of Serie A and progress in Europe has been outstanding but the club from Bergamo are not resting on their laurels. Their eye for talent across the leagues is second to none and securing a player the like of Teun Koopmeiners shows the pull the club are beginning to have and their intention to turn such promising performances into trophies.