By Stefan Coerts | Dutch Football Editor
Although Netherlands' biggest names such as Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord have traditionally dominated the Eredivisie, it is clubs like AZ and Twente that have made their mark in recent years. Both sides have won the Dutch league title in the 21st century, and are once again among the teams fighting for glory in 2011-12.
There's another contender this season as Heerenveen have joined the race for the Eredivisie crown after a disappointing 2010-11 campaign. The Friezen had to settle for 12th spot in the table last term, but have been one of the revelations this season and are only five points off the pace at the moment.
One of the main reasons for Heerenveen's successful year is their attacking potency, as their impressive return of 61 goals in 27 Eredivisie games will prove. The likes of Luciano Narsingh and Oussama Assaidi have been in scintillating form on the wings, while Filip Djuricic's creativity from midfield has been vital as well. But it's striker Bas Dost who has been the standout attacking threat.
The 22-year-old is the Eredivisie's leading goalscorer with 23 goals in 27 league appearances, and could follow in the footsteps of some of Dutch football's biggest names.
|PLAYER STATISTICS | Bas Dost (Heerenveen)
Attributes: Finishing, heading, positioning
|Height||Weight||Place of Birth||Current Club||Former clubs|
||Deventer||Heerenveen||Germanicus, Emmen, Heracles
Stars such as Marco van Basten, Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar have all been crowned top scorer in the Eredivisie in the past, but not since 2008 has a Dutchman won the prestigious individual award. Dost could very well be the next in line if he keeps up his current form.
The prolific hitman is a product of the Emmen youth academy and made his official first-team debut at the Eerstedivisie side in the 2007-08 campaign. Dost didn't waste any time making an impact in Drenthe as he netted six times in his first year as a professional, and made the step to the Eredivisie after only 23 league games when Heracles came knocking.
Dost initially struggled to live up to the expectations in Almelo and scored a meagre three goals in 27 top-flight appearances in his first season at the club. Nevertheless, the former Netherlands Under-21 starlet earned himself a move to Heerenveen in the summer of 2010 after a successful second season at Heracles.
The striker once more had a difficult start as he initially endured a troublesome relationship with head coach Ron Jans. Dost even went to court in an attempt to force through a move to Ajax in January 2011. However, the court ruled against the Deventer-born attacker and he was forced to stay put.
|Although Dost still has plenty of room for improvement, it's clear to see why Aston Villa and Borussia Monchengladbach have set their sights on the striker
It's only gone upwards from there on, though, as Dost has developed into one of the undisputed stars of the Eredivisie over the past 12 months.
The former Heracles attacker netted a hat-trick in his side's 4-0 league win over ADO Den Haag in October 2011, and went on to better that sublime performance two weeks later when he scored all of Heerenveen's goals in a 5-0 away victory over Excelsior.
Unsurprisingly, Dost's superb displays this term have not gone unnoticed elsewhere and clubs such as Aston Villa and Borussia Monchengladbach are believed to be ready to make a move for the towering striker this summer.
Although the attacker still has plenty of room for improvement, it's clear to see why the aforementioned clubs have set their sights on Dost.
He not only possesses a lethal right foot, but is always an aerial threat as well with his 1.92-metre frame. Additionally, the 22-year-old's other prime asset is his excellent ability to hold up the ball, which allows his team-mates to get forward.
Despite the interest from abroad, Dost has stressed that he will not make a decision about his future before the end of the season. However, a summer move seems to be a realistic possibility at the moment.
What better way to say farewell to the Eredivisie than become the first Dutch top scorer since Huntelaar, and in the process emulate legends like Van Basten, Bergkamp and Van Nistelrooy.
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