Coach Erik ten Hag retained an air of calm when he was quizzed about the comings and goings at Ajax. It has been a hectic summer of transfer speculation surrounding the potential ins and outs at the Sons of the Gods.
The most high-profile departure is, of course, that of Frenkie de Jong — for a fee of around £70million — who is leaving the Dutch giants to join Spanish powerhouse Barcelona. But there are no hard feelings about the ace, who is aged 22, leaving the club and this has been reflected by the decision of the hierarchy to hire a bus, depicting a picture of De Jong, to be driven around the Catalan city before he is officially unveiled today. The message is a simple one, but has a powerful meaning with the words on the bus declaring: “Barca, enjoy the future like we do.”
Another star said to be heading away from the Amsterdam giants is Matthijs de Ligt, who is aged 19, and his main suitor, Juventus, are said to have bid £60million for his services. It is reportedly £8million less than his parent club would consider to allow him to make the switch to the Italian champions. Juve and Mino Raiola, who is De Ligt’s agent, are said to have agreed personal terms and the Dutch schemer would go to the Seria A giants on a contract that will be spread over five years and is said to be worth £11million-a-year.
And through all the discussions, Ten Hag is philosophical and has revealed that the club, no doubt led by sporting director and former Arsenal winger Marc Overmars, are working on “several scenarios and we know that some players will be leaving”. But the coach was also quick to remind reporters that
“we also know that a big core will stay”.
“It’s not a drama, but it’s tricky to deal with. We are prepared and we’re waiting to see how the transfer market develops. We’ll definitely be fighting for every player in our selection, and hope to keep the players who are attractive on the transfer market. If we can’t do that, then we need to make sure to have adequate replacements.”
One player coming in to the Sons of the Gods is young midfielder Youri Regeer who is set to pen a new deal taking him up to 2022. The Holland youth international has been handed his chance of making it to the big time after impressing during his time playing in Ajax’s academy as well as the club’s U17s and Ajax U19s.
Once the money comes flooding in from the players going out, expect a glut off signings arriving at the Amsterdam ArenA.