Thijs Dallinga stood out in Toulouse’s win against Liverpool in the Europa League this week, but the Dutch forward has been performing admirably for a while.
After scoring a consolation goal in his side’s 5-1 demolition at the hands of Liverpool on Merseyside, the up-and-coming forward found the net in a 3-2 home win against the Reds on Thursday.
In doing so, Dallinga became the first player to score home and away against Liverpool in a European season while playing for a French club since ex-Marseille star Didier Drogba in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup.
Whether he will follow in the footsteps of the Ivorian icon and move to the Premier League remains to be seen. But there’s no denying the Emmen youth academy graduate has a bright future ahead of him.
From Netherlands to France
Thijs Dallinga’s career has taken strange pathways, carrying him through a rollercoaster of first-tier and second-tier divisions.
In the summer of 2021, the prodigious striker made an odd choice, swapping Eredivisie outfit Groningen for lower-league Excelsior in search of regular first-team football.
He had tallied 32 goals in 37 matches in the Dutch second tier en route to helping his side earn a play-off spot and then win promotion with another four strikes.
Despite his pipe dream of completing a switch to a more prominent Dutch club in the summer of 2022, the Netherlands U-21 international suddenly emerged as a concrete target for French second-tier winners Toulouse.
It didn’t take long before Dallinga was jetting off to the Stadium de Toulouse to help Le Tefece avoid a swift return to Ligue 2.
Little did anyone know the 23-year-old would quickly grow to become a fan favourite, with his 12-goal tally in his first season in France helping Toulouse keep hold of their Ligue 1 status.
Coupe de France
Set aside his steady adjustment to the French top flight, Dallinga embraced a starring role on other fronts as Philippe Montainer’s side lifted the Coupe de France crown thanks to his stellar cup form.
Dalinga’s six goals in the tournament, including two in the grand final, had inspired Toulouse to their first-ever major title and cemented his status as this team’s on-field leader.
A managerial shift over the summer has done nothing to stunt the Dutchman’s momentum. He has already mustered six goals and two assists in 15 matches under new boss Carles Martinez Novell.
The 39-year-old tactician is close to guiding Toulouse to the Europa League knockouts as they head into the last two group-stage rounds as Group E runners-up, three points clear of third-placed Royale Union SG.
Much of the credit goes to Dallinga and his exit may come sooner than expected.
Will Dallinga move this summer?
While his contract at Toulouse runs out in 2026, Le Tefece’s top-flight status is in limbo. That could derail their hopes of fending off potential suitors, especially if they make a deeper run in the Europa League and Dallinga continues to impress.
Carles Martinez’s men languish 14th in the Ligue 1 standings, only one point clear of the dreaded relegation play-off spot, meaning they’ll likely face another season-long fight against the Dorp.
A failed attempt to stay afloat would make it almost impossible for the French side to convince Dallinga to stay. It’d also drive down the striker’s price, increasing the likelihood of a well-deserved high-profile switch.