It seems like Marc Overmars is adamant that we’ll start pre-season with exactly seven players still playing for Ajax. Davy Klaassen has already left, while Amin Younes, Kenny Tete, Joel Veltman and others might leave pretty damn soon. That leaves our new manager Marcel (or Martijn, I still don’t f*cking know) Keizer with enough headaches as it is, but when Veltman departs as well, there will be a pretty important choice to be made about who will succeed Klaassen as captain.
Let’s walk through our options. First of all, you got Lasse Schöne, who was already captain in some games and has shown great loyalty to Ajax the past few years. However, I have this feeling his role will be limited to one as a substitute for most of next season. Donny van de Beek showed he’s more than capable of playing as a controlling midfielder (much more so than as replacement of Klaassen in my opinion) and it’s about time he gets the starting spot he deserves. Which means Schöne should be sacrificed, and there’s no use in a captain who doesn’t play. Except when it’s Dirk Kuyt.
Dirk Kuyt is the ONE exception.
Our second candidate to take the armband is Nick Viergever, but, well, I think the same thing will happen for him. Matthijs de Ligt and Davinson Sanchez (as long as he stays, which we all know is only 100% sure when the market closes everywhere) is a central partnership a lot of teams can be jealous of (Liverpool for instance honestly have nothing even reaching that level). There will be a role for Viergever, as a back-up CB and LB, so he will get a lot of games, but again, not enough to be the constant captain of the team. Besides, I honestly doubt his leadership-abilities.
Well, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was captain once, he could return to his duties? No, he can’t. Not only won’t he get much playing time, that’s literally something they put in his contract. Why would you make someone captain who already knows for a fact that if nothing goes wrong, he’ll play 20 matches as a substitute in the league?
No, the real option is Hakim Ziyech, for multiple reasons. The first of those reasons being he was one of the first (and still one of the only) players to stand up and promise he’ll stay until at least next season. He’s shown incredible intent to keep this group of players together, and with the departure of Klaassen and probably Veltman, there are no other players left who will try and make this type of unity happen. The other players like him, as well. Besides, he’s important to the team, and the fans really have grown to love him.
If you need an outspoken player, who knows how to lead a team. A player who, when the board is not doing that, is openly ambitious about Ajax and not only his own career. A player who can promise in May he’s staying and actually keep that promise (Peter Bosz, god f*cking damn it, even though this promise might not be safe for the money-hungry hands of Overmars). If you’re looking for such a captain, than you have to reward Hakim Ziyech with the captaincy.