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Interview: Algeria’s Oussama on Rejecting Big Offers and His Battle to Adapt in the Dutch League

Algeria’s Oussama on rejecting big offers and his battle to adapt in the Dutch League

It’s a shining light at end of the tunnel for Ousssama Darlafou. His transition to explore the Dutch Eredivisie stood on the cusp of being shattered on July this year amid a litany of offers from clubs in the Gulf attached with ridiculous wages as an enticement.

Many would have chosen the moneybags over a chance at top-flight European football. There are hordes of Algeria domestic league stars with many such tales.

But with the fortitude and a never ending desire to excel, Darlafou nodded to Vitesse Arnhem. An opportunity to head to the English Premier League in the not too distant future using Vitesse’s tie with Chelsea was the reason for the Algerian’s choice.

“I had a dream, to play in Europe. It is true that I received many offers last summer, but I insisted on opting for a sporting project. The challenge that was offered to me by the Vitesse Arnhem really pleased me, especially since I felt from the leaders that they trusted me. That’s why I signed up for this club,” he said.

Swapping the Algerian league for a country where French is minimally spoken meant not only a fresh start to life, but experiencing a total strange type of football which, in Oussaama’s world, is equivalent to the EPL.

“They know that I will need time to adapt since I came from the Algerian championship and I did not have the experience of European football.”

“It is true that here I find it a little difficult to speak the language of this country, the Flemish, and I do not hide that I do not understand anything. Fortunately, most people speak English. I started on this subject to take courses in English for a few weeks and it’s going well. I’m starting to get along. Gradually, I begin to integrate into my new environment,” he said.

The new term is up and running and the 25-year-old has been learning from the bench, securing just 94 minutes in the last six games. Prior to this, he was starting in fixtures but an injury turned the cards until his recent recuperation.

A winning goal against fifth-tier outfit Rkav Volendam in the first round of the Cup competition was a confidence-booster and the Algerian agrees.

“It is true that it was a cup game, but we still prepared it well and we played as usual. I felt good on the field and I managed to score. This is what an attacker is asked of,” he continued.

Slapped with a €1m valuation in the transfer market, the Menaa-born knows he’s isn’t brought to Arnhem to be sitting out games and raking it in, with earning game time his ultimate goal.

“I started the friendly offseason games as a regular (starter), except that I was injured towards the end of our training camp. In Austria, I had to miss the last preparation games, which obviously benefited my teammates in attack.”

“It’s normal whereas when I find the grounds, the coach leaves me on the bench. Nevertheless, I try to hang on and work hard hoping to gain more playing time. In any case, I do not worry and I’m not worried at all. I know it will come.”

The GelreDrome –the side’s training ground –will be the place his bid to force his way into coaches’ thinking will begin and must knock the calibre of Roy Beeren and Bryan Linssen off their perch who are ahead of him in the gaffer’s pecking order.

Also at the GelreDrome, the North African will have his development enhanced as he shares the dressing room with former Manchester United’s Alexender Buttner, Real Madrid’s Marin Odegaard and Chelsea’s Charly Musonda Jr.

Sitting top on the agenda for Darlafou is a focus on today’s fixture against Feyenoord.

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