Bergkamp, Van Dijk, Robben: Ranking the 16 best Dutch players in Premier League history

Dennis Bergkamp playing for Arsenal

Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp celebrates his 52nd birthday today. 

The Ajax academy graduate was one of the most captivating performers in the game at his peak and a perennially iconic figure in Premier League history. 

That stunning goal against Newcastle United remains etched into the memories of football fans worldwide, while the Gunners faithful regard him as one of the true all-time greats.

Bergkamp was one of many first-class Dutch players to grace English shores during their careers, but just where does he rank amongst the likes of Arjen Robben, Virgil van Dijk and Rafael van der Vaart.

Well, his birthday presents an apt opportunity to look back at the best Dutch players in the history of the division, and GIVEMESPORT have produced a ranking of the top 16. 

Take a look at who makes the cut in descending order below: 

16. George Boateng

George Boateng challenges Frank Lampard

With a whopping total of 382 appearances, George Boateng, who is the eldest sibling of Kevin-Prince and Jerome Boateng, has featured in more Premier League games than any other Dutch player.

15. Ryan Babel 

A maverick blessed with talent who never quite reached the heights expected of him.

Ryan Babel was an effective, deceptive winger with decent end product nonetheless. 

14. Bolo Zenden

Bolo Zenden's versatility, dependability and steadfast commitment made him a highly valued squad player during his stints with four Premier League clubs. 

13. Jaap Stam

An archetypal hardman befitting of the era he turned out for Man United between 1998 and 2001.

12. Nigel de Jong

Nigel de Jong playing for Manchester City

The master of the slide tackle and a lynchpin in Manchester City's maiden Premier League title win in the 2011/12 season.

11. Marc Overmars

Marc Overmars scored 25 goals and provided 27 assists in exactly 100 league games for Arsenal.

Say no more.

10. Georginio Wijnaldum

A key cog in Liverpool's development under Jurgen Klopp that culminated with their first ever Premier League title win in 2020.

9. Rafael van der Vaart

The epitome of a cult hero, Rafael van der Vaart was a magician during his short stint with Spurs and set White Hart Lane alight with his playmaking craft.

An artist at his best.

8. Arjen Robben

Arjen Robben is notably low down in the ranking if we look at his career as a whole, but his most impressive form arrived during stints with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich after his time at Chelsea. 

7. Dirk Kuyt

Dirk Kuyt celebrates scoring for Liverpool

One of the hardest working players England's top flight has ever seen.

The embodiment of professionalism, Dirk Kuyt wasn't a relentless goal scorer but had that unteachable knack of finding the net in high stakes encounters. 

Despite his legacy as an adaptable forward who relied on hard work over raw ability, Kuyt scored 51 goals and provided 32 assists in 208 league games for Liverpool.

6. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is the 14th-highest scorer in Premier League history and the fact he only reaches 7th place here speaks to the calibre of his compatriots. 

5. Edwin van der Sar

Only six goalkeepers in the history of the Premier League have kept more clean sheets than Edwin van der Sar. 

A vital cog under Sir Alex Ferguson during a period of domestic domination for Manchester United.

4. Ruud van Nistelrooy

Ruud van Nistelrooy playing for Manchester United

One of the most accomplished dead-eyed finishers in the division's history.

Ruud van Nistelrooy scored 95 Premier League goals in just 150 games for Man United, collecting one domestic golden boot and two Champions League golden boots before moving to Real Madrid in 2006.

3. Virgil van Dijk 

Arguably the most game-changing signing in Liverpool's recent history, Virgil van Dijk is a colossal defender with everything in his locker. 

Comfortably one of the best centre-backs the Premier League has seen.

2. Robin van Persie

Arsenal fans may resent Robin van Persie for joining Manchester United but there's no doubting it was a wise decision from a career perspective. 

Boasting a brute of a left foot and a stunning blend of poise, precision and power, van Persie was a menacing centre-forward and is the third-highest scoring foreigner in Premier League history after Sergio Aguero and Thierry Henry. 

1. Dennis Bergkamp

Dennis Bergkamp playing for Arsenal

Bergkamp was less prolific than van Persie but solely viewing him through the lens of goal scored would do his eclectic collection of qualities a criminal disservice. 

The nimble-footed striker played with game with effortless simplicity, using his immaculate first touch and balance to glide through space and navigate through defensive mazes.

"If he played in the snow he wouldn't leave any footprints," was the verdict of Bergkamp's Arsenal teammate and fellow centre-forward John Hartson. 

A true feast for the eyes. 

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