Manchester United: Robin Van Persie, Alex Buttner and MU's 6 Other Dutch Stars

Elliott Binks@ Writer IIIOctober 11, 2012

Manchester United: Robin Van Persie, Alex Buttner and MU's 6 Other Dutch Stars

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    Robin van Persie has made a great start to his Manchester United career, having already notched seven goals in all competitions since his £24 million move from Arsenal during the summer.

    And though he has featured much less frequently, fellow Dutch arrival, Alexander Buttner has also enjoyed a decent start, helping himself to a goal and an assist on his Premier League debut against Wigan Athletic.

    Through history, the Old Trafford club may not have the richest tradition of Dutch footballers—just eight players from the Netherlands, including van Persie and Buttner, have donned the esteemed United shirt.

    This lack of quantity however, is more than made up for in quality.

    To commemorate the arrival of United's latest Dutch pair, this list identifies the six other fellow countrymen that van Persie and Buttner have followed in signing for Manchester United, looking back at their careers on the red side of Manchester.

Arnold Muhren

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    Muhren was a member of Ajax’s revolutionary and mercurial “total football” side in the early 1970s, where, alongside his brother Gerrie, he won two Dutch championships as well as the European Cup in 1973.

    He then had successful spells at FC Twente and Sir Bobby Robson's Ipswich Town, before playing for United for three years between 1982 and 1985.

    Known for his "perfect technique and visionary passing," as described by David Winner in his fantastic book Brilliant Orange he was also famous for being one of the earliest players to feature in England from outside of the British Isles.

    Whilst in Manchester, Muhren won a pair of FA Cups in 1983 and 1985, before returning to the Netherlands with Ajax under the supervision of former teammate Johan Cruyff.

    Perhaps his most notable moment though, remains his left-wing cross to set up Marco Van Basten for that goal in the Netherlands' victorious Euro ’88 final against the USSR.

Jordi Cruyff

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    Signed from Barcelona in 1996, Jordi Cruyff unfortunately failed to live up to the astronomically high standards set by his father Johan.

    He managed three goals in 16 games in a decent debut season at Old Trafford, but soon fell off the radar as the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes took centre-stage in United's midfield.

    Though his time at the club coincided with the infamous treble of 1999, Cruyff had unfortunately been loaned out to Celta de Vigo in Spain for the second half of the season, and thus missed out on that sensational night against Bayern Munich in Barcelona.

    He did, however, earn a Premier League winners medal in his first season, but once again failed to feature in the Intercontinental Cup-winning side during the winter of 1999.

    After retiring permanently in 2010, Cruyff now finds himself filling the role of General Manager at Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Raimond van der Gouw

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    Another Dutchman to enjoy mixed success at United, van der Gouw featured in just 37 league games during his six season with the club.

    Largely used as a substitute to Peter Schmeichel and later Fabien Barthez, he did pick up two Premier League winners medals and was on the bench during the 1999 Champions League final.

    Many of his appearances came after Mark Bosnich, the intended successor to Schmeichel's throne, produced some faltering performances that allowed van der Gouw to prove his worth.

    Though not the most memorable of United goalkeepers, his presence was valuable and he was a capable backup for Sir Alex Ferguson to rely upon.

    He played for the Red Devils until the ripe old age of 39, before becoming a coach at first Sunderland and now Vitesse Arnhem upon retiring in 2007.

Jaap Stam

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    The tall, domineering Jaap Stam is widely regarded as one of United’s greatest ever central defenders.

    He stayed at Old Trafford for three full seasons between 1998 and 2001, before being sold to Lazio at the start of the 2001-02 campaign. Ferguson later made a rare admission of error, stating that he had been wrong to let the Dutchman go as it was an offer he “couldn’t refuse."

    Stam was a part of the victorious 1999 Champions League side, and also claimed a hat trick of Premier League titles with the club, sealing an immensely successful spell.

    However, his Manchester United career is often steeped in controversy, after he claimed in his 2001 autobiography that Ferguson actually signed him from PSV Eindhoven without the permission of his then-employers.

    Nonetheless, his time with the club will be remembered by most for all the right reasons, particularly amongst the United faithful.

Ruud van Nistelrooy

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    To this day, van Nistelrooy remains one of Manchester United’s most prolific and efficient strikers in history.

    Between 2001 and 2006, the Dutch poacher netted 95 league goals in 150 games, with a further 38 strikes in just 47 European outings. Only once did he fail to reach 20 league goals, during an injury-ridden 2004-05 campaign.

    And it wasn’t just the amount of goals he scored that impressed; he was more than capable of the spectacular, as his wonderful strike against Fulham in 2003 so brilliantly demonstrated.

    Silverware somehow eluded van Nistelrooy though, and he won just one league title in what was Manchester United’s least fruitful spell of the last two decades.

    Nonetheless, he will be forever remembered as one of the most natural goalscoring talents ever to grace Old Trafford and the Premier League.

    Upon leaving United, he achieved moderate success at Real Madrid, Hamburg and Malaga before retiring in the summer of this year.

Edwin van der Sar

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    The final Dutchman to join prior to van Persie and Buttner, van der Sar was a pivotal player for six seasons during the final days of his highly-decorated career.

    In 2008, he added a second Champions League medal to the one he won in 1995 with Ajax, and he won a further four League titles and two League cups as Manchester United's No. 1.

    In total, he amassed 266 games for Ferguson's side, and he remains the Netherlands' highest capped player after playing an astounding 130 international games.

    Capable of the most instinctive and athletic saves even at the age of 40, van der Sar will be remembered alongside the likes of Peter Schmeichel and Alex Stepney.

    It's also worth noting that his son, Joe, has been signed up for the club's under-12 side. If the youngster can display as much quality as his father, then Manchester United will have many a happy year ahead of them indeed.