Finished at Liverpool, but still an exceptional signing for Feyenoord: It’s time Kuyt made De Kuip return

The Netherlands international has been struggling to secure regular first-team action at Anfield this term, and a return to Rotterdam seems like a realistic option
By Stefan Coerts | Dutch Football Editor

When Dirk Kuyt left Feyenoord for Liverpool in the summer of 2006, the Dutchman assured that he would definitely return to De Kuip at some point in the future to end his playing career at the Eredivisie giants. Six years and more than 200 Premier League games later, the time has arrived for the Netherlands international to come good on his promise.

After netting an impressive 71 goals in 101 Eredivisie appearances during his three-year spell at Feyenoord, Kuyt had attracted the interest of several big clubs throughout Europe. It was Liverpool who eventually won the race for the attacker's signature in 2006, and the now 31-year-old would not regret his decision to move to Anfield.

Kuyt immediately developed into an important first-team player at his new club, and became a real crowd favourite at the Premier League side over the years.

Richard Morgan, Chief Editor | International

"Dirk Kuyt’s six years at Anfield have been an undoubted success for both player and club, although there have been clear signs this season that the love affair is slowly dwindling as the player’s form has hit rock bottom, resulting in the Dutchman being used primarily as a squad-player under manager Kenny Dalglish for the first time in his Reds career.

Kuyt’s game has been noticeably in decline in recent years, accelerated by the departure of Rafa Benitez, the man who brought him to the club, in the summer of 2010. Dalglish’s obvious reluctance to start the forward in key games this season means the writing has been on the wall in terms of his Liverpool future for some time now, a fact starkly underlined by his dreadful return of only two Premier League goals for the team this campaign."

Nevertheless, despite scoring a Liverpool personal best of 13 goals in 33 league games in 2010-11, the forward has lost his spot in the starting XI this term. For the first time since his move to England, Kuyt will not reach 3,000 playing minutes at the Reds this season.

Kuyt is unlikely to get more chances next term, and his situation at Anfield has drawn the attention of those at Feyenoord.

The Stadionclub are in the market for attacking reinforcements as Manchester City loanee John Guidetti is expected to return to his parent club at the end of the season, and they are hopeful of luring Kuyt back to Rotterdam.

Sporting director Martin van Geel met with the Dutchman earlier this month to discuss a potential return to De Kuip, and Kuyt is open to a summer move, despite previous comments from his agent Rob Jansen that a transfer to Feyenoord is unlikely at this point.

Jansen's scepticism is understandable as there are plenty of obstacles to overcome before a transfer can take place. The most significant problem is arguably Feyenoord's inability to match the player's wages at Liverpool, or come even close to doing so. Kuyt is believed to be on an estimated annual salary of €5 million at the Reds, whereas the Rotterdam side have only three players in their squad who are on a salary higher than 10 per cent of that sum.

There are ways around this problem, though, as a group of external investors appear to be ready to put in the financial resources needed to re-sign Kuyt. More importantly, the striker is seemingly willing to take a huge pay cut in order to return to the club where he rose to prominence after a previous spell at Utrecht.

Although there's little doubt that Kuyt is past his prime and is no longer the player he was when he bid farewell to Feyenoord in 2006, the attacker would still be a huge signing for the Eredivisie outfit.

Kuyt, 31, remains a respected international for one of the best national teams in the world, and would still be one of the strongest forwards in the Dutch top flight if he returns this summer. Additionally, the experienced campaigner would be an ideal mentor for promising youngster Anass Achahbar, the 18-year-old who made his first-team debut earlier this campaign.

It's by no means a certainty yet that Kuyt will return to Feyenoord in a few months time, but De Kuip certainly seems like the right place for the attacker to continue his career.

He netted 20, 29 and 22 Eredivisie goals in his previous three seasons at Feyenoord. A similar return next term would undoubtedly turn him into a hero in Rotterdam once again.

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