With the international week providing time to ponder a healthy start to the new Eredivisie campaign, Ajax coach Erik ten Hag would have probably been looking forward to some time to contemplate and plot the way forward for the Sons of the Gods.
But any thoughts of kicking back and relaxing some were firmly put to bed when the news broke that the Amsterdam giants’ set-up could well be heading for some severe disruption, if British tabloid newspaper reports are to be believed.
They have suggested that Premier League behemoth Manchester United are looking to recruit ex-keeper Edwin van der Sar in a role that would see him revolutionise the way the that some football matters are dealt with at Old Trafford. It is being reported that Red Devils supremo Ed Woodward, who is actually the executive vice-chairman, wants to bring in the former Holland custodian Edwin Van der Sar to help steer manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the right direction regards recruitment.
Ajax chief executive officer Van der Sar works closely with former Arsenal ace Marc Overmars — the current director of football at the club — and is seen as a top target by United, though it is felt that any move to lure him from the Sons of the Gods will be met with no short measure of stiff resistance. Keen observers suggest that Van der Sar is content in his present role and although any offer from an outfit as big as Manchester United would be hugely attractive, it may take some time to convince him to leave.
The mission is clear at Ajax; the retention of the Eredivisie title and a bid to try to go one better than last season and reach the final of the Champions League. it’s a tough ask but when you think that ten Hag’s men came so close last season — losing out in the two-legged semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur — there is no reason why not.
The operating profit is likely to be healthy for Ajax when the annual financial state of play is published and when you consider that they have been able to bank around £200million in recent seasons it’s easy to see why — don’t forget the coffers were significantly boosted in the summer when Matthijs de Ligt was sold to Serie A club Juventus for round £70million, and Frenkie de Jong (for a similar amount) was allowed to leave and join Spanish giants Barcelona.
On the pitch, Ajax will want to follow up their last league outing, a 4-1 win over Sparta, with another victory when they host Heerenveen on September 14 in a game that could see them push for top spot in the table, currently occupied by Vitesse Arnhem.