Ajax face seeing their first team decimated this summer, find a site offering reviews of the best betting sites on the market and browse the futures odds they are offering, and you will see that Ajax are second favourites to win the league next season, behind only defending champions PSV. It looks to be a two-horse race, as AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord are all the way out at 40/1, and Ajax stand a good chance of winning it as several exciting young stars look set to follow Justin Kluivert out the door.
A lot of young players like Kluivert completed a €17.25 million move to Roma this week and spoke of his joy at joining a club that can help him become a “stronger” and “bigger” player. Those comments may have chimed with some of his teammates, and several of Europe’s biggest clubs are circling ominously. There is little Ajax can do to keep hold of their prize assets nowadays, and fans should brace themselves for further departures.
Teenage defensive superstar Matthijs de Ligt, 21-year-old midfielder, Frenkie De Jong and Moroccan playmaker Hakim Ziyech, all mainstays in the Ajax team that finished second in the Eredivisie last season, are now all apparently on the verge of leaving the club. That could see the spine ripped out of the side, but it is easy to see why Europe’s elite are interested in Ajax’s talented youngsters.
“I think that Justin is already one of the most exciting young players in European football,” said Roma’s legendary sporting director Monchi after snapping up Kluivert. “Because of this it was not easy to bring him to Roma ahead of a number of other clubs. But Justin believes Roma is the perfect club for him to continue his development and realise his enormous potential.” Kluivert himself added: “I’m feeling great. I’m at an unbelievable club and I can’t wait to start. I think Roma is a great club for me – I think they can build me into a bigger, stronger player and I can do some nice things here.”
Nowadays, Ajax simply cannot afford the wages that teams in Italy, Spain, England, Germany and France are able to dish out these days. The Eredivisie does not attract such high TV revenues and Ajax’s focus needs to continue to centre on developing youth and trying to thrive with academy products. It has kept them competitive for many years and, regardless of what happens this summer in the transfer market, they will be battling it out for the title at the business end of the 2018/19 season.
But they may have to do so without several of their finest players. Juventus are closing in on De Ligt and the the 18-year-old cannot help but be flattered by their interest. Juventus is the home of the greatest central defenders in Europe, and he would be able to learn from the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli there. Their defensive titans are in the twilights of their fabulous careers, so it is understandable that Juventus are keen to look to the future, and De Ligt’s looks extremely bright.
De Jong is receiving admiring glances from none other than Barcelona, and he could be the latest in a long line of Ajax stars to follow that well-trodden path. Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp sees Ziyech as an ideal replacement for Philippe Coutinho and he is willing to fork out for his services. That would give Ajax a healthy transfer budget, as you would hope a decent chunk of the fees would be reinvested in the squad. The club has several more exciting youngsters coming through, and if they can make some more astute moves in the transfer market there is nothing to stop them overhauling PSV next season.