An analysis of the Nemanja Gudelj situation

It has come to light in the past 24 hours that Vlado Lemić, Nemanja Gudelj’s agent, was the driving force behind Gudelj’s declaration that he did not possess the right mentality to sit on the bench of Peter Bosz’s Ajax side. According to De Telegraaf, the Serbian midfielder has confronted the club and manager in order to force a move away from the club in the Winter transfer window.

Lemić, who has a track record of manipulating clubs and a reputation as a bit of a shady character, clearly had his own greedy intentions behind it all. Advising Gudelj to inform the club of his lack of motivation was a clever move in lowering his clients transfer value for two reasons:

The club will want to get rid of him as soon as possible. Thus, limiting the clubs power to negotiate a reasonable transfer fee in order to recoup as much of the six million euros they paid for him as possible.

Who is going to willingly pay big money for a player who can’t cope with the hugely draining mental task of being paid thousands of euros a week to do watch his friends play football? (Yes, I am being sarcastic). Lemić, in turn, will most likely receive a neat sum of money for his services in the form of an agent fee. What a crafty man.

However, ex-Ajacied and current director of football at Ajax, Marc Overmars, is well documented to be a resolute character himself and had this to say on the situation: “We are forced to take these measures. I’ve spoken to Nemanja myself, and we feel his mentality doesn’t suit that of a professional football player. He’ll leave for national team duties on Monday, but we’ll sit down and find a solution for this situation once he comes back.” It is widely speculated that Overmars will cut Gudelj’s contract short and allow him to leave in January despite his contract expiring in the Summer of 2020.

It is unlikely we will ever see Gudelj don the famous shirt of De Godenzonen again (Get in!). It is too late for the ex-Alkmaar man as the club has both an abundance of players waiting to take his position and an extremely loyal group of fans who would never stand for Gudelj finding his way back into the first team, a player they never really liked that much in the first place.

To add insult to injury, AZ fans who made the journey through to AFAS Stadion at the weekend decorated the stand with a large banner reading “Gudelj, hoe vind je ‘t gaan!?”, a sarcastic mocking roughly translated as “Gudelj, how do you think it’s going?”. Mean, but perhaps deserved based on his recent antics.

On the other hand, not all blame can be placed at the door of Gudelj. Collectively, Overmars and Bosz have ended up with far too many midfielders in the squad. Due to the needless amounts of midfielders Bosz has at his disposal, many players who deem themselves to be first team material have expressed frustration culminating in Anwar El Ghazi being sent to train with Jong Ajax for speaking out of line and rumours of a move away for Riechedly Bazoer come the Winter break.

The general consensus is that a lot of the unrest amongst the squad is down to Bosz’ lack of communication with the players. After Ajax’s cup success over Willem II back in September it is said that Jaïro Riedewald was never given a full explanation as to why he never got any game time despite Matthijs de Ligt starting and many other bit part players getting the chance to prove themselves. Likewise, El Ghazi and Bazoer, who both started and played to a respectable level with the latter netting a delightful goal, were never given any further first team opportunities nor any explanation as to why not.

Gudelj’s recent remark was nonetheless ludicrous and his expulsion from the first team totally justified. However, in order to prevent further incidents of the same ilk it would appear Bosz’s communication amongst the whole squad must improve drastically. Furthermore, better squad management is required from both Overmars and Bosz. There is clearly no need for any more central midfielders in the squad and definitely no room for any players of the same calibre as Gudelj, both mentally and technically, otherwise I envisage many more draining repeats of this sorry state of affairs in the near future of this beautiful club.